Prevalence of transfusion-associated viral infections and syphilis among blood donors in Muhimbili Medical Centre, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

East Afr Med J. 1999 Mar;76(3):167-71.


Objective: To determine the seroprevalence of the main transfusion-associated viral infections and syphilis among blood donors in Muhimbili Medical Centre, Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

Design: Cross sectional study.

Setting: The blood bank unit of Muhimbili Medical Centre in Dar es salaam, Tanzania.

Subjects: A consecutive sample of 300 blood donors.

Investigations: Search for the presence of antibodies to: human immunodeficiency virus (anti-HIV), hepatitis C virus (anti-HCV), hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs), human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (anti-HTLV-1), syphilis and for hepatitis B surface antigen (HbsAg).

Results: The overall frequency of anti-HIV, anti-HCV, anti-HBs, HbsAg, anti-HTLV-1, and syphilis antibodies were 8.7%, 8%, 20%, 11%, 0%, and 12.7%, respectively. Among the HIV seronegative donors, the frequency of anti-HCV, anti-HBs, HBsAg, anti-HTLV-1, and syphilis antibodies were 8.8%, 22%, 11%, 0%, and 10.9%, respectively. HIV-seropositive donors had an increased risk for being positive for syphilis antibodies (OR = 3.6, 95% CI 1.4-9.0) and HBsAg (OR = 4.0, 95% CI 1.0-18.8), but not anti-HCV (OR = 0.9, 95% CI 0.86-0.97), anti-HBs (OR = 1.0, 95% CI 0.2-5.3) or anti-HTLV-1 (OR = 0.0).

Conclusion: Donor blood including that from HIV-seronegative donors, has high frequency of HCV, HBV, and syphilis antibodies but not anti-HTLV-1. A significant association exists in the occurrence of HIV, HBV and syphilis; and due to the association of syphilis and HIV, clients with history of sexually transmitted disease should be excluded during donor selection. From these observations were recommend: (i) routine screening of donor blood for HIV, HCV, HBV, and syphilis antibodies but not HTLV-1 and; (ii) a larger study to generate more accurate estimates of the magnitude the transfusion-transmissible infectious diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / blood
  • Antibodies, Bacterial / isolation & purification
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Antibodies, Viral / isolation & purification*
  • Blood Banks
  • Blood Donors*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Transmission, Infectious / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • HIV Seroprevalence
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / blood
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis, Viral, Human / transmission
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Syphilis / epidemiology
  • Syphilis / transmission*
  • Tanzania / epidemiology
  • Virus Diseases / epidemiology
  • Virus Diseases / transmission*


  • Antibodies, Bacterial
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens