Magen David Adom blood drive. .
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
There is only a “minuscule” risk that syphilis could have been passed on to blood recipients since June 6 of this year due to a failure in blood tests for the sexually transmitted disease, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.
The ministry said it was informed by the European Medicines Agency on the eve of Rosh Hashana that the foreign company that makes the tests reported a problem with some tests. It found that two out of three blood samples from people at the early stage of syphilis were not identified. But samples tested a long time after the individual was infected with syphilis were all identified with the disease, and the blood was not used for infusion.
Syphilis is treatable with penicillin, which is very effective. The bacteria are very sensitive to cold. Thus, said the ministry, the chance that someone who received blood, which is always refrigerated after donation and before infusion, is almost impossible. However, there is a “very small risk” that people who received infusion of platelets only could have been infected because platelets are taken from blood kept at room temperature.
The incidence of syphilis (new cases) among blood donors in the country is only eight per 100,000, the ministry said. It could happen in the first time a person gives blood (15% of donors).
Magen David Adom said that syphilis tests from another company will be used to test for the bacteria in donated blood. As for the past, samples are stored. If test the test was positive, the recipient will be called in for tests and given penicillin if necessary.