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

Sarkodie, Francis, Ullum, H, Owusu-Dabo, E, Owusu-Ofori, S, Owusu-Ofori, A and Hassall, Oliver (2016) 'A novel strategy for screening blood donors for syphilis at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Ghana'. Transfusion Medicine (Oxford, England), Vol 26, Issue 1, pp. 63-66.

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

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.

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.

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

Item Type: Article
Subjects: WC Communicable Diseases > Sexually Transmitted Diseases > WC 160 Syphilis
WH Hemic and Lymphatic Systems > Hematologic Diseases. Immunologic Factors. Blood Banks > WH 460 Blood bank procedures
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > International Public Health Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Jessica Jones
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2016 11:45
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2018 13:11


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