The Prevalence of Syphilis Among Blood Donors in a Centralized Nigerian Blood Transfusion Service Centre
BACKGROUND: Syphilis is one of the mandatory transfusion transmissible infections to be tested for in any unit of blood for homologous transfusion. The paucity of voluntary blood donors in Nigeria has compelled health care providers to rely on paid and family replacement donors for blood.
AIMS: This study was carried out to determine the prevalence of syphilis among blood donors at a centralized Transfusion Service in North Central Nigeria.
METHOD: Records of blood donors at the North Central Zonal Centre of the National Blood Transfusion Service in Jos, from April 2007 to March 2010 were analyzed for sero-positivity to Treponema pallidum and co-infections with other transfusion transmissible infections.
RESULTS: 9,500 blood donors where received at the Transfusion Service Centre in Jos within the study period. The overall prevalence of syphilis among blood donors was 0.9%. New voluntary non remunerated donors constituted 69.9% with a syphilis sero-positivity of 0.9% and 0.2% co-infection. Retained voluntary non remunerated donors accounted for 19.5% with syphilis sero-positivity of 0.2%. Family replacement donors made up 10.6% of total blood units screened with a 2.0% anti-syphilis positive reaction and 1.0% co-infection.
CONCLUSION: The prevalence of syphilis among blood donors in a centralized transfusion service may be low.
KEY WORDS: prevalence of syphilis, blood donor retention, transfusion service.