Lack of evidence of endogenous avian leukosis virus and endogenous avian retrovirus transmission to measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine recipients

Emerg Infect Dis. 2001 Jan-Feb;7(1):66-72. doi: 10.3201/eid0701.010111.


The identification of endogenous avian leukosis virus (ALV) and endogenous avian retrovirus (EAV) in chick cell-derived measles and mumps vaccines in current use has raised concern about transmission of these retroviruses to vaccine recipients. We used serologic and molecular methods to analyze specimens from 206 recipients of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine for evidence of infection with ALV and EAV. A Western blot assay for detecting antibodies to endogenous ALV was developed and validated. All serum samples were negative for antibodies to endogenous ALV by Western blot analysis. Peripheral blood lymphocyte samples from 100 vaccinees were further tested by polymerase chain reaction for both ALV and EAV proviral sequences; all were negative. Matching serum samples were tested by reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction for ALV and EAV RNA, and all 100 samples were negative, providing no evidence of viremia. These findings do not indicate the presence of either ALV or EAV infection in MMR vaccine recipients and provide support for current immunization policies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Avian Leukosis Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Chickens
  • Child
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine / adverse effects*
  • Retroviridae Infections / transmission*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella Vaccine