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September 1941


Author Affiliations


From the Department of Dermatology and Syphilis, Georgetown University School of Medicine.

Arch Derm Syphilol. 1941;44(3):441-445. doi:10.1001/archderm.1941.01500030123013

In an article read at a meeting of the Section on Dermatology of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania in October 1938,1 a complete summary of cases of syphilis acquired by transfusion showed that of 41 cases reported, in 16 examination of the donor's blood for syphilis would not have detected its presence (table 1). In 6 donors the condition was in the incubation period of the chancre; in 9 there were chancres which were not discovered and Wassermann reactions were negative.

One donor was under active treatment for syphilis and had a negative Wassermann reaction just before the transfusion, but shortly after that active malignant syphilis developed while treatment was being given. In 2 other cases the emergency was too great to allow time for performance of blood tests. In 39 per cent of the recorded cases, therefore, examination of the donor's blood before transfusion would