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.