Test Directory

Syphilis confirmation

Laboratory Site

51 Little France Crescent
Old Dalkeith Road
EH16 4SA
Telephone (Bacteriology): 0131 242 6021 OOH Bleep 2900

Transport arrangements

Samples should be appropriately packaged in accordance with current regulations and sent to Virology, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh via hospital porter collection, hospital pneumatic tube system, inter-site van service, GP van service, external hospital van service, courier or Royal Mail.

Sample storage arrangements

How to request

Sample type
• Blood (clotted blood, K EDTA blood, LiHep blood, not cord blood) 1.5 ml
• CSF (clean container) 0.5 ml

Request information
• unique identifier (forename and surname/CHI number/NaSH number)
• date of birth and gender
• sample type
• location of sender
• sender’s lab number (if applicable)
• any relevant clinical details


Weekdays 08.30 - 17.00

Testing usually takes place twice per week on Tuesdays and Thursdays

Anticipated turnaround

7 days

What happens if the result is positive or abnormal

Clinically significant results will be communicated by phone/e-mail to the requestor.

General additional information

​Syphilis/treponemal serology confirmation testing will include some or all of the following tests: treponemal IgM, TPPA (Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay) and RPR (rapid plasma reagin). They are used for:

• confirming reactive treponemal screening assay results
• investigation of possible early treponemal infections
• investigation of possible neonatal infections
• investigation and follow-up of neurosyphilis
Results should be available electronically. For senders outwith NHS Lothian it is our policy that results should be returned via a secure email such as nhs.net. Paper copies of reports can be sent via Royal Mail by prior arrangement.
All results are interpreted based on previous treponemal results, clinical details and treatment history available to us at the time.
Further clinical advice can be obtained by contacting the Microbiology Office on 0131 242 6048 and asking to speak to the duty syphilis authoriser.
Further information see www.bashh.org