The effectiveness of ELISA and PCR techniques for detecting Cytomegalovirus in blood donors

Haween T. Nanakaly, Bashdar M. Hussen, Saleem S. Qader


Background: Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is one of the most significant causes of transfusion- associated morbidity and mortality. The infection with this virus may be asymptomatic and remain latent. Serological screening of blood components may reduce the incidence of transfusion- transmitted CMV (TT-CMV) infection, but still cases of TT-CMV infection in immuno- compromised patients are reported.

Objectives: To investigate the sensitivity of PCR technique to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for detection of CMV in plasma of blood donors.

Materials and Methods: Serum from 465 voluntary blood donors were screened for specific anti-CMV IgG and IgM by ELISA. Further 50 samples tested more by PCR; 25 with positive and 25 negative for IgG CMV.

Results: 148 (31.827%) were positive for IgG anti-CMV and negative for anti- CMV IgM. DNA detection in CMV IgG positive was (92%), while DNA CMV in IgG negative was (64%) (

Conclusion: It is the time for PCR to substitute ELISA for screening of blood donors for detection of CMV. Detection of CMV in blood donors will reduce the spread of this infection which is a big burden on the health revenue and this is a cost effective management.


Cytomegalo virus, blood donors, ELISA, PCR

Full Text:



Bevan IS, Daw RA, Day PJR, Ala FA, Walker MR. Polymerase chain reaction for detection of human cytomegalovirus infection in a blood donor population. Br J Haematol 1991: 78:94–99.

De Jong M, Galasso GJ, Gazzard B, Griffiths PD, Jabs DA, Kern ER, Spector SA. Summary of the II International Symposium on cytomegalovirus. Antiviral Res 1998; 39(3): 141-62.

Benz C, Mternohen O, Villnow B, Drles V, Goeser T, Koszinowski M and Busch DH. Activated virus specific talls are early indicator of anti-immune reaction in liver transplant patients. Gastronterology 2000;122(5):46.

Boeckh, M, Woogerd P. Stevens-Ayers T, Ray GC, and Bowden RA. Factors influencing detection of quantitative cytomegalovirus antigenemia. J Clin Microbiol. 1994;32:832–834

Sinclair J, Sissons P. Latency and reactivation of human mcytomegalovirus. J Gen Virol 2006; 87:1763-79.

Larsson S, Söderberg-Naucler C, Moller E. Productive cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection exclusively in CD13- positive peripheral blood mononuclear cells from CMV infected individuals. Implications for prevention of CMV transmission. Transplantation 1998; 65:411-5.

Bowden R. A., Transfusion-transmitted cytomegalovirus infection. Hematol Oncol Clin N Am 1995: 9:155–165.

Hillyer CD, Emmens RK, Zago-Novaretti M, and Berkman EM. Methods for the reduction of transfusion-transmitted cytomegalovirus infection: filtration versus the use of seronegative donor units. Transfusion (Be-thesda) 1994: 34:929–934.

Boeckh M, Gallez-Hawkins G, Myerson D, Zaia J, Bowden R. Plasma polymerase chain reaction for cytomegalovirus DNA after allogeneic marrow transplantation: comparison with polymerase chain reaction using peripheral blood leukocytes, pp65 antigenemia, and viral culture. Transplantation 1997; 64:108-13.

Brytting M, Xu W, Wahren B, Sundqvist VA. Cytomegalovi-rus DNA detection in sera from patients with active cytome-galovirus infections. J ClinMicrobiol 1992; 30:1937-41.

Einsele B, Ehninger G, Hebart H, Wittkowski KM, SchulerU, Jahn G, Mackes P, Herter M, Klingebiel T, Loffler J, Wagner S, Müller CA. Polymerase chain reaction monitoring reduces the incidence of cytomegalovirus disease and the duration and side effects of antiviral therapy after bone marrow transplantation. Blood 1995; 86: 2815-20.

Spector SA, Merrill R, Wolf D, Dankner WM. Detection of human cytomegalovirus in plasma of AIDS patients during acute visceral disease by DNA amplification. J Clin Microbiol 1992; 30:2359-65.

RasmussenL, Kelsa ll D, Nelson R, Carney W, Hirsch M, Winston D Preiksaitis J, Merigan TC: Virus-specific IgG and IgM antibodies in normal and immunocompromised subjects infected with cytomegalovirus. J Inf Dis 1982; 145: 191-199.

Bitsch, A., R. Kirchner, R. Dupke, and G. Bein. Failure to detect human cytomegalovirus DNA in peripheral blood leukocytes of healthy blood donors by the polymerase chain reaction. Transfusion (Bethesda) 1992:32: 612–617.

Roback, JD, Hillyer, CD, Drew WL, et al. CMV DNA is rarely detected in healthy blood donors using validated PCR assays. Transfusion 2003: 43: 314-21.

Eisenfeld L, McLaughlin JC, Mayo D, Klevjer-Anderson P, Silver H, Krause P, Anderson J, Herson V, Savidakis J, Lazar AM, et al. Cytomegalovirus antibody detection in blood donors and mothers of very low birth weight neonates by using three serologic methods. Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 1992 Feb; 15(2):125-8.

Boeke CE, Pauly ME, Hatch-Stock H, Jackson JB. CMV antibody prevalence and seroincidence in plateletpheresis donors. J Clin Apher. 2008; 23(2):63-5.

Yasir JS, Majhol BR, Khalil MA. Screening of anti-cytomegalovirus IgG antibodies in blood donors in Al-Najaf Governorate. Kufa Med J 2008; 11(2):251-6.

Mussa E.A., Elsayed M. K., Hafez A. M.M.: Prevalence of Cytomegalovirus IgG antibody in blood donors. Central laboratories of military forces; Microbiology and Immunology Department faculty of medicine. 2005; Ain Shams University.

Weber B., Prosser F., Munkwitz A., Doerr H.W.: Serological diagnosis of Cytomegalovirus infection: comparison of 8 enzyme immunoassays for the detection of HCMV specific IgM antibody. Clin. Diagn. Virol. 1994; 2: 245–59.

Mutlu B, Gunlemez A, Turker G, Gokalp AS, Willke A. Is serologic screening necessary in the donor bloods for cytomegalovirus seronegative blood transfusion to risky patients? Mikrobiyol Bul. 2008; 42(2):337-41.

Mojgan S, Mahbobeh R, Maryam Z, Sima Z. Meta‐analysis of cytomegalovirus seroprevalence in volunteer blood donorsand healthy subjects in Iran from 1992 to 2013. Iran J Basic Med Sci 2015; 18:627-34.

Kumar H, Gupta PK, Kumar S, Sarkar RS. Is seroprevalence of anti-IGM CMV among blood donors relevant in India? Indian journal of pathology and microbiology 2008; 51(3):351-352.

Bushera O. The prevalence of Cytomegalovirus antibodies in kidney candidate, donors and blood donors at Ahamed Gasim Renal Transplant Center. MSc Thesis University of Khartoum. 2006; 50.

Roback JD, Drew WL, Laycock ME, Todd D, Hillyer CH, Busch MP. CMV DNA is rarely detected in healthy blood donors using validated PCR assays. Transfusion 2003; 43 (3): 314–321,

Jiwa NM, Van Gemert GW, Raap AK, et al. Rapid detection of human cytomegalovirus DNA in peripheral blood leukocytes of viremic transplant recipients by the polymerase chain reaction. Transplantation 1989; 48: 72-6.

Taylor GH. Cytomegalovirus. Family Physicians 2003; 67: 519-524.

Revello MG, Zavattoni M, Baldanti M, et al. Diagnostic and prognostic value of human cytomegalovirus load and IgM antibody in blood of congenitally infected newborns. J Clin Virol 1999; 14: 57-66.

Kothari A, Ramachandran VG, Gupta P, et al. Seroprevalence of cytomegalovirus among voluntary blood donors in Delhi, India. J Health Popul Nutr 2002;20(4):348-351.

Rckha Swarna, Chandraseckhara MK, Yeshwanth M. Cytomegalovirus infection acquired through blood transfusions. Indian Pediatr 1995; 32: 575-577.

Ojide CK, Ophori EA, Eghafona N, Omoti C. Seroprevalence of cytomegalovirus (CMV)amongst voluntary blood donors in University of Benin Teaching Hospital (UBTH), Edo State, Nigeria. Br J Med Med Res 2012; 2:15


Copyright (c) 2017 ZANCO Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

ZANCO Journal of Pure and Applied Sciences (print version: ISSN 2218-0230 online version: ISSN 2412-3986, DOI: 10.21271) is published by Salahaddin University-Erbil / Department of Scientific Publications. Responsibility for the contents rests upon the authors and not upon  Salahaddin University-Erbil or the Journal Editorial and Advisory Boards. 

Department of Scientific Publication Office: The Central Library of Salahaddin University-Erbil, Kirkuk Road, Erbil, Kurdistan, Iraq. Cell Phone: +964 (0)750 7761675, email:,

Copyright and Reprint Permission: It is the policy of ZANCO to own the copyright to the technical contributions it publishes and to facilitate the appropriate reuse of this material by others. Photocopying is permitted with credit to the source for individuals for individual use.

Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved. Salahaddin University-Erbil