5 people exposed to syphilis at hospital

accreditation

According to Botswana’s Mmegi newspaper and the African country’s health minister, five patients at two major hospitals were accidentally exposed to syphilis last week after receiving blood infected with the virus that causes the STI.

Read: All about syphilis symptoms and causes   

The Southern African country's government confirmed the shocking cases at an impromptu press conference held in the nation’s capital Gaborone on Thursday 17 March 2016. At the conference, health minister Dorcas Makgatho said eight blood units were distributed from the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) to the Princess Marina and Scottish Livingstone Memorial Hospitals in Gaborone and Molepolole respectively two weeks ago.

Read: The STI you most likely could have without knowing it

The minister blamed the detection faults on a newly introduced blood capture technology system, stating: “Somehow during the verification of the system, we detected that eight units of blood containing the Treponema pallidum virus – that can cause syphilis – were dispatched to the two health facilities. Unfortunately five units had already been sent to the facilities and transfused – four pints at Princess Marina Hospital and one at the Scottish Livingstone Hospital in Molepolole.”

Read: Blood transfusion and HIV/Aids

She then went on to say that the health ministry takes full responsibility for errors and the plan to prevent more mistakes in the future: “We have tracked the clients and we are already talking to them, counselling them and preparing them for treatment. We will provide all possible medical assistance within our ability. We are putting up structures and mechanisms so that this does not happen again."

Watch: Do I Have Syphilis? Signs and Symptoms of Syphilis



Read: WHO 'pre-qualifies' new HIV/syphilis combo test

None of the affected patients have shown any signs of developing syphilis, according to Makgatho. Referring the details of the cases, she added: “The samples of the eight pints were confirmed negative for HIV 172, hepatitis B & C, but were reactive for Treponema pallidum only at the time of screening. Treponema pallidum can only survive under cold temperatures of 4 degrees Celsius for three to five days. The blood units issued stayed in the cold room for a minimum of eight days, which significantly lowers chances that the disease could have been transmitted to the patients,” she said.

The faulty blood screening technology was reportedly recently acquired by the National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) from a South African company according to ENCA.

Read more: 

More South Africans urged to donate blood

Top excuses for not donating blood

The health benefits of donating blood

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
The ANC's leadership race is heating up. Who do you think will be elected party president at Nasrec in December?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has got it in the bag
7% - 401 votes
I foresee a second term for Cyril Ramaphosa
82% - 4849 votes
Don’t discount a Zweli Mkhize win
11% - 670 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
18.07
-0.6%
Rand - Pound
20.16
+0.2%
Rand - Euro
17.68
+0.3%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.58
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.12
+0.1%
Gold
1,661.25
+0.0%
Silver
19.03
0.0%
Palladium
2,166.50
0.0%
Platinum
864.50
0.0%
Brent Crude
85.14
-2.4%
Top 40
57,390
+0.8%
All Share
63,726
+0.7%
Resource 10
60,230
+0.7%
Industrial 25
77,400
+0.8%
Financial 15
13,796
+0.7%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE