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Transfus Med. 2016 Feb;26(1):63-6. doi: 10.1111/tme.12279. Epub 2016 Feb 2.

A novel strategy for screening blood donors for syphilis at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana.

Author information

1
Transfusion Medicine Unit, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi, Ghana.
2
Faculty of Health & Life Sciences, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Liverpool, UK.
3
Department of Clinical Immunology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark.
4
School of Public Health, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
5
Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.
6
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To implement and describe a novel syphilis screening strategy for blood donors.

BACKGROUND:

The seroprevalence of syphilis in blood donors is often high in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) although the proportion of infectious donations is probably low. Syphilis screening may not happen at all; or the use of non-specific screening tests, which have high false positive rates, results in many donations being discarded unnecessarily. This can have a critical effect on already inadequate blood supplies.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Blood donors were screened at the time of donation with an anti-treponemal rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and blood collected irrespective of the result. Units screening negative for syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis B and C were released to stock. RDT screen-positive units were re-tested with rapid plasma reagin (RPR) - units testing negative were released to stock and test-positive units discarded.

RESULTS:

Of the 2213 blood donors, 182 (8·2%; 182/2213) screened positive by RDT. In addition, 38 out of these 182 (20·9%) were RPR positive on post-donation testing. Over 2 months there was a 79% reduction in blood units discarded due to a positive syphilis screen.

CONCLUSION:

In other LMIC, this novel strategy can contribute to improving blood safety without jeopardising blood supply.

KEYWORDS:

blood donation testing; blood safety; serological testing

PMID:
26834072
DOI:
10.1111/tme.12279
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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