The use of blood transfusion as a therapeutic measure in an ever widening variety of disease conditions is increasing constantly. With the more frequent use of blood transfusion, the opportunity for the accidental transmission of syphilis naturally increases. The listed cases of infection in this manner is not large, but it is quite possible that for obvious reasons many instances in which this accidental infection occurs are withheld from publication.
In 1917 in his book on blood transfusion, Bernheim1 reported the first case of transmission of syphilis from donor to recipient. In this case a son transmitted syphilis to his father, who was suffering from pernicious anemia. It is possible that the son knew that he had the disease, since he refused a Wassermann test. Unfortunately, his father's condition became so critical that he was used as the donor with the result that his father contracted syphilis.