Marseillevirus prevalence in multitransfused patients suggests blood transmission

J Clin Virol. 2013 Dec;58(4):722-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2013.10.001. Epub 2013 Oct 15.


Background: Emerging viral infections in humans are appearing at an increasing rate. Recently, we identified a new Marseillevirus, named Giant Blood Marseillevirus (GBM), by performing viral metagenomics on asymptomatic blood donors.

Objectives: To study and compare the prevalence of Marseillevirus between asymptomatic blood donors and thalassemia patients.

Design: Here, we present a combined molecular and serological study on 174 asymptomatic blood donors and 22 patients with thalassemia who receive repeated blood transfusions to estimate the prevalence of Marseillevirus in these two populations.

Results: We identified Marseillevirus genomic DNA in 4% of donors, whereas 9.1% of the thalassemia patients were positive for this virus. Moreover, IgG seropositivity was detected in 22.7% of patients in the thalassemia group, whereas this seropositivity was observed in 12.6% of the blood donor population.

Conclusion: These results suggest that Marseillevirus infection is not rare in healthy persons and may be transmitted by transfusion, thus raising speculation regarding the long-term consequences of this viral infection, particularly in patients requiring repeated blood transfusions.

Keywords: Blood donors; Blood infection; Giant viruses; Thalassemia; Transfusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Asymptomatic Infections / epidemiology
  • Blood Donors*
  • Blood Transfusion / statistics & numerical data
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Child
  • DNA Virus Infections / blood
  • DNA Virus Infections / epidemiology
  • DNA Virus Infections / transmission*
  • DNA Virus Infections / virology
  • DNA Viruses / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Thalassemia / therapy*
  • Transfusion Reaction*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral