In several vertebrate species, Borna disease virus (BDV), the prototype of a new group of animal viruses, causes central nervous system disease accompanied by diverse behavioral abnormalities. Seroepidemiological data indicate that BDV may contribute to the pathophysiology of certain human mental disorders. This hypothesis is further supported by the detection of both BDV antigens and BDV RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of patients with psychiatric disorders and the isolation of BDV from such PBMCs. Here we describe serological and molecular epidemiological studies on psychiatric patients and healthy individuals from the area of Homburg, Germany. Using a novel Western blot (immunoblot) assay, we found a BDV seroprevalence of 9.6% among 416 neuropsychiatric patients, which is significantly higher than the 1.4% found among 203 healthy control individuals. Human sera displayed a prominent immunoreactivity against the virus nucleoprotein, the p40 antigen. Reverse transcriptase-mediated PCR analysis of RNA extracted from PBMCs of a subset of 26 of the neuropsychiatric patients revealed that 50% were BDV RNA positive. Three of the 13 BDV RNA-positive patients also had BDV-positive serology, whereas one patient with serum antibodies to BDV p40 antigen did not harbor detectable BDV RNA in PBMCs. BDV p40 and p24 sequences derived from human PBMCs exhibited both a high degree of inter- and intrapatient conservation and a close genetic relationship to animal-derived BDV sequences.