In a horrible mix-up in Botswana, local media reports three units of blood that were sent to Princess Marina Hospital in Gaborone city were positive for syphilis and later transfused to unknown/undisclosed patients.

Donated blood /Ethan Morgan USAF
Donated blood /Ethan Morgan USAF

The tainted blood was sent by The National Blood Transfusion Service (NBTS) within the past couple weeks and the error was just recognized.

Based on the report, the blood bank says they recently acquired new equipment that missed and passed the infected blood.

NBTS director, Mukendi Kayembe said acknowledging the incident, The Ministry is aware of the issue and they should be in a proper position to answer you.”

A spokesman for the hospital said they received no communication from the blood bank.

Transfusion-transmitted syphilis, which is caused by Treponema pallidum, is one of the oldest recognized infectious risks of blood transfusion.

Routine screening of blood donors and refrigeration of donated blood before its use has made transfusion-transmitted syphilis very rare.