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VDRL Additional Product Information

About the VDRL Antigen Test

Syphilis, a sexually transmitted disease, can be fatal if left untreated. Treponema pallidum (a spirochete bacteria), the causative agent of syphilis, induces the production of at least two types of antibodies in human infection. Anti-treponemal antibody can be detected by the FTA-ABS (Fluorescent Treponemal Antibody Absorption) test, and the anti-nontreponemal antibody (reagin) that is detected by using the Rapid Plasma Reagin (RPR) test.

In 2006, 36,000 cases of syphilis were reported. Of these, 9,756 cases were of primary and secondary syphilis. This reflects an increase of 11.8% with a 13.8% rise in the number of primary and secondary syphilis cases. The data indicates that in this group, the rise was primarily among men having sex with men. From 2005 to 2006, there was a 12.4% increase for early latent syphilis and 9.9% for late and late latent syphilis.¹

Direct contact with syphilis sores is the mode of transmission from one individual to another. The sores most commonly occur on the external genitals, vagina, and anus or in the rectum. They can also appear in the mouth and on the lips. Transmission occurs during vaginal, anal or oral sex. Additionally, during pregnancy, an infected mother can pass the disease on to her child; therefore, syphilis screening is a routine part of prenatal care. Untreated early syphilis during pregnancy results in perinatal death in up to 40% of cases and if acquired during the four years preceding pregnancy, may lead to infection of the fetus in 80% of cases.¹ Syphilis can NOT be transmitted from swimming pools, hot tubs, bathtubs, shared clothing, eating utensils or toilet seats.

1. CDC, 2006 Syphilis Surveillance Report



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