To investigate whether Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is associated with ordinary gastric carcinoma and to determine its genotype, samples from ordinary gastric carcinoma from 65 patients (40 males, 20 females) and 21 endoscopic biopsies from 7 individuals with non-neoplastic mucosa were analysed using one-stage and nested (two-stage) polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays. The nested PCR assay yielded 56.9% (37/65) and 52.3% (11/21) positivity for the ordinary gastric carcinoma and control cases, respectively; these results were significantly than those of the one-stage PCR assay(13.5% and 0%, respectively). The EBV positivity showed similar rate in male and female patients (60% versus 52%, P > 0.05). The dominant genotype of EBV was 1 (92%) followed by mixture of 1+2 (5.4%) and 2 (2.6%). In conclusion, similar positivity rates of EBV in neoplastic and non-neoplastic tissues suggest that the relationship of this virus to the ordinary gastric carcinoma is not clear.