Prevalence of syphilis in Pakistani blood donors

Shahid Nazir, Hafiza Saima Pracha, Arman Khan, Arslan Nazar, Ahmed Fayyaz, Muddasar Saeed Khan, Shafique Ahmed, Faiza Masood, Tahir Yaqub, Allah Rakha



 Background: Blood transfusion is one among the common sources for transmission of the infectious diseases. In Pakistan, a country of population about 1.8 billions, blood required for transfusion is approximately 1.5 million bags per year. So, evaluation of the prevalence of syphilis among the blood donors by a retrospective study is important and critical to give a vivid picture of current situation for both the donors involved and medical practitioners.  

Method: A questioner was administered and consent was taken before obtaining the blood sample for the syphilis serology from all the blood donors. ARCHITECT syphilis Treponema Pallidum (TP) assay was performed to detect the syphilis.

Results: There were 449 (3.1%) confirmed cases found to be syphilis positive out of total 14,352 tested individuals. We found that male population is at far higher risk than female population. Out of 179 females, only 3 (1.6%) were found to be syphilis positive and out of 14173 males, 446 (3.1%) were having syphilis infection.

Conclusions: We report high prevalence of syphilis in blood donors which was unexpected as in accordance with the previous studies. This calls for mandatory syphilis screening test of donor before transfusion of blood.  As this high prevalence poses a great risk to public health, we strongly suggest that there should me be more public awareness campaign to fight against this infectious disease.

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