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BACKGROUND: When xenotropic murine leukemia virus–related virus (XMRV) was first reported in association with chronic fatigue syndrome, it was suggested that it might offer a risk to blood safety. Thus, the prevalence of the virus among blood donors and, if present, its transmissibility by transfusion need to be defined.

STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Two populations of routine blood donor samples (1435 and 13,399) were obtained for prevalence evaluations; samples from a linked donor-recipient repository were also evaluated. Samples were tested for the presence of antibodies to XMRV-related recombinant antigens and/or for XMRV RNA, using validated, high-throughput systems.

RESULTS: The presence of antibodies to XMRV could not be confirmed among a total of 17,249 blood donors or recipients (0%; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0%-0.017%); 1763 tested samples were nonreactive for XMRV RNA (0%; 95% CI, 0%-0.17%). Evidence of infection was absent from 109 recipients and 830 evaluable blood samples tested after transfusion of a total of 3741 blood components.

CONCLUSIONS: XMRV and related murine leukemia virus (MLV) markers are not present among a large population of blood donors and evidence of transfusion transmission could not be detected. Thus, these viruses do not currently pose a threat to blood recipient safety and further actions relating to XMRV and MLV are not justified.