Borna disease virus (BDV) p24 RNA was detected in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of psychiatric patients and blood donors by nested reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR). The prevalences of BDV p24 RNA in patients with mood disorders (4%) and schizophrenia (4%) were not significantly different from that in blood donors (2%). This finding was inconsistent with previous reports that showed either a high prevalence or absence of BDV p24 RNA in patients with psychiatric disorders. The differences in BDV p24 RNA prevalence in these studies may be due to differences in the criteria for positivity, the number of PBMCs used for RNA extraction, or the amount of RNA tested for nested RT-PCR or to laboratory contamination. Sequence analysis of BDV p24 RNA from the PBMCs of patients and blood donors showed a high nucleotide sequence conservation but definite nucleotide mutations compared with horse BDV p24 RNA sequences. In comparison with human BDV p24 RNA sequences previously reported from Japan and Germany, there were several positions with silent nucleotide mutations among these clones.