In the recent outbreak of infectious syphilis in Gloucestershire, UK, 18 cases were diagnosed and treated between January and October 2004. This compares with one case in 2003 and none in 2001 and 2002 [ref 2]) and is a reminder of the importance of the swift detection of the traditional sexually transmitted diseases. Diagnosed syphilis infection rates in the UK between 2002 and 2003 rose by 28%[ref 3]. Thermo Scientific Diagnostic Reagent Kits provide laboratories with inexpensive, easy-to-perform and rapid tools for the diagnosis of syphilis.
Thermo Scientific VDRL Carbon Antigen Test (DR0525M/DR0526M) is a rapid agglutination test used to detect non-treponemal reagin antibodies. The sample is spread onto circles on the test cards provided and antigen added. Positives are seen as large aggregates in the test circle, negatives give a macroscopically smooth, even appearance.
Thermo Scientific TPHA test (DR0530M) is a haemagglutination test for the detection of antibodies to Treponema pallidum (the causative organism of syphilis) in serum and is performed in a microtitre plate. Agglutinated cells form an even layer over the well bottom. Agglutination of the test cells but not the control cells indicates the presence of specific antibodies to T. pallidum.
1. HM Government, Department of Health, Choosing Health, Making Healthy Choices Easier, 6, p147.
2. Health Protection Agency, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Outbreak of Infectious Syphilis in Gloucestershire, CDR Weekly, 11 November 2004, Vol 14, no 46.
3. Health Protection Agency, Communicable Disease Surveillance Centre, Release of provisional England, Wales, and Northern Ireland data for 2003 on sexually transmitted infections, CDR Weekly, 29 July 2004, Vol 14, no 31.