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Improving safety of blood units: a novel strategy for screening blood donors for syphilis

Screening of blood donors for syphilis is often carried out with non-specific tests that can give high false positive results. In some cases, syphilis test is not carried out on blood donors, resulting in unnecessary disposal of blood units after donation.

A recent study carried out at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Ghana has recommended a new strategy for screening blood donors for syphilis to prevent the problem of discarding blood units post-donation. The strategy proposed include two separate tests: one at the point of donation and a post-donation test. The former is the anti-treponemal rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and the latter is the rapid plasma reagin (RPR).

According to the study published in the Transfusion Medicine journal, the new strategy resulted in a 79% decrease in disposal of blood units due to a positive syphilis test.

Authors of the study were F. Sarkodie and S. Owusu-Ofori of the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital; H. Ullum of Copenhagen University Hospital, Denmark; E. Owusu-Dabo and A. Owusu-Ofori of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana; O. Hassall of Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, UK.

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

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