Volume 63 (2001) Issue 7 Pages 723-733
Live virus vaccines for human use, 29 monovalent vaccines against measles, mumps, rubella or polio, eight polyvalent vaccines against measles-mumps-rubella and one bacterial polyvalent vaccine against Streptococcus pneumoniae, were tested by reverse transcriptase-nested PCR for the presence of petivirus or pestivirus RNA. Twenty-four samples were selected from European manufacturers, ten were from U.S.A. and four from Japan. Five (13.1%) out of 38 tested samples were positive for pestivirus RNA. Three vaccines (rubella and two measles) were from Europe and two (mumps and rubella) from Japan. The 5'-untranslated genomic region of the contaminant pestivirus RNA were amplified by reverse transcription-PCR and sequenced. Analyses based on primary nucleotide sequence homology and on secondary structures, characteristic to genotypes, revealed that the cDNA sequences belonged to bovine viral diarrhea virus (BVDV). A cDNA sequence, detected from one measles sample, belonged to BVDV-1b genotype. Pestiviral cDNA detected from the Japanese mumps and rubella vaccine samples, belonged to the BVDV genotypes 1a and 1c, respectively. Analysis on two cDNA sequences detected from measles and rubella vaccine samples from Europe showed their appurtenance to a new genotype, BVDV-1d. These findings indicate that contamination by animal pestivirus may occur in biological products for human use.