Prevalence Of Syphilis (Treponema pallidum) – An Emerging Public Health Problem Among Blood Donors
Background: In general,the risk of transfusion transmitted infections has been greatly reduced today. However, blood borne bacterial, viral as well as parasitic infections and emerging infections transmitted through transfusion are an area of increasing concern. More recently, there has been a resurgence of syphilis.
Objective: Since there is scantly information on syphilis among blood donors in Nigeria, we therefore determined its prevalence among voluntary and replacement blood donors.
Methodology: One thousand blood samples collected from voluntary and
replacement donors were screened for syphilis using the venereal Disease Research Laboratory (VDRL) test. All those that were positive were confirmed using the qualitative Microhaemagglutination Treponema Pallidum (MHA-T) test. This study was carried out at the blood bank of University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin from July 2007 to July 2008.
Result: Seropositivity was higher in females (16.0%) than in males (3.4%). The age bracket 30-34 years recorded the highest number of donors and a high number of seropositivity.
Conclusion: Screening of blood for syphilis infection before transfusion should be encouraged to check its menace in transfusion therapy. Also blood donations from any person with a positive serological test result for syphilis should be deferred for at least 12 months.
Keywords: Syphilis, Blood donors, Infectious agents, Blood Screening