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Patient Preparation: No special preparation is required
Syphilis test is usually ordered to rule out infection. For example, for a pregnant woman, it is important to rule out syphilis as the infection may harm the foetus. So syphilis test is ordered as part of routine care and not because there are symptoms or an infection is suspected.
If you are being treated for Gonorrhoea or any other sexually transmitted infection, a syphilis test may also be added to rule out infection.
Symptoms of syphilis infection include painless sore, swelling in lymph nodes around the sore or a skin rash that typically does not itch.
Basically, the VDRL test checks for antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by your body and immune system to fight an infection. So even if you don't have symptoms of syphilis, the test measures prior infection and response to infection.
Most often, a blood sample drawn from a vein in your arm; sometimes, a scraping from the affected area; less commonly, cerebrospinal fluid taken via a spinal tap, depending on your symptoms.
An infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum that is most often spread by sexual contact, such as through direct contact with a syphilis sore (chancre), a firm, raised, painless sore is called as Syphilis. The most common syphilis tests detect antibodies in the blood that are produced in response to a T. pallidum infection. Some methods that are utilised less commonly directly detect the bacterium or its genetic material (DNA).
Syphilis is easily treated with antibiotics but can initiate severe health problems if not treated. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her unborn child, with serious and potentially fatal consequences for the baby.
A positive RPR or VDRL screen should be followed by a specific treponemal antibody test (e.g., FTA-ABS, TP-PA):
A positive result on the second method authorises the screening result and the affected person is diagnosed with syphilis.
A negative result on the treponemal test can mean that the initial RPR or VDRL test was not positive. Further testing and investigation can be done to determine the cause of the false positive.
Sample: Serum (2 mL)
Methodology: Slide Flocculation