BACKGROUND: To ensure the safety of plasma derivatives, some countries have been screening for the human parvovirus B19 (B19V) antigen or DNA in blood donors. We investigated the prevalence of B19V DNA and anti-B19V antibodies in Korean plasmapheresis donors to evaluate the necessity of B19V DNA screening test. METHODS: Plasma samples were collected between March and July 2008 from 10,032 plasmapheresis donors. The B19V DNA test was performed using the LightCycler 2.0 (Roche, Germany) with quantification kits. Anti-B19V IgM and IgG were tested in 928 randomly selected samples from the 10,032 donors using recomWell Parvovirus B19 ELISA IgM, IgG assay (Mikrogen, Germany). RecomLine Parvovirus B19 LIA IgG, IgM assay (Mikrogen, Germany) was used to analyze the epitopes of antibodies in donors showing positive results for B19V DNA and anti-B19V antibodies. DNA sequencing was performed to identify the genotypes. RESULTS: The prevalence of B19V DNA was 0.1% (10/10,032). Virus titers in B19V DNA positive donors were less than 10(5) IU/mL (range: 2.7x10(1)-3.2x10(4) IU/mL) except for 1 donor (1.33x10(8) IU/mL). All the isolated B19V DNAs from 6 donors were identified as genotype I. Nine out of 10 B19V DNA positive donors also possessed anti-B19V IgG only or IgG and IgM. The prevalence of anti-B19V IgG was 60.1% (558/928). CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of B19V DNA in Korean blood donors was not high and most donors also possessed neutralizing anti-B19V antibodies. Thus, the implementation of a B19V screening test for Korean blood donors does not appear to be imperative.