Thursday, March 31, 2016

Efforts in Blood Safety: Integrated Approach for Serological Diagnosis of Syphilis

Recent efforts in transfusion medicine are focused on improving blood safety as well as establishing effective and efficient diagnostic algorithms for donor screening. To date, syphilis is a transfusion-transmitted infection re-emerged in many countries as a public health threat especially among populations at specific risk. 

This task requires new diagnostic tools and hemovigilance programs. The current diagnostic methodologies are debated, since presenting limitations and unresolved issues with special regard to the clinical interpretation of serological patterns, especially in asymptomatic patients and in blood donors. Furthermore, the switch from the traditional to alternative diagnostic algorithms underlines the lack of a gold standard, which has not been supported by shared guidelines. Besides, a lot of ongoing clinical trials on the performance of diagnostic assays, on the serological response associated with different pharmacological treatments, as well as on the prevention programs are currently under investigation. 

Here, we review the recent literature about the diagnosis of syphilis especially for low-risk populations proposing the adoption of an algorithm for blood donor screening that should satisfy the need of increasing safety for transfusion-transmitted infections in the modern blood transfusion centers.

Below:  The natural history of untreated syphilis in immunocompetent individuals

Below:  The actual testing algorithms for diagnosis of syphilis

Full article at:

  • 1Department of Transfusion Medicine and Transplant Immunology, U.O.C. Immunohematology, Regional Reference Laboratory of Transplant Immunology, Azienda Ospedaliera Universitaria, Second University of Naples, Italy. 
  •  2016 Jan-Jun;10(1):22-30. doi: 10.4103/0973-6247.164267.

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