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The common name for any member of the order Spirochaetales.



a bacterium, measuring 0.1–0.6 micrometer in diameter and 5–500 micrometers in length, in the form of an elongated coiled spiral. The majority of species have a slender axis filament around which the body of the cell is spirally coiled. Spirochetes lack flagella and are characterized by undulating movements, during which the cells rotate around their long axis. Reproduction is by transverse fission.

Spirochetes may be nonpathogenic or pathogenic. The former inhabit freshwaters, and the latter parasitize mollusks and cause syphilis in man (Treponema pallidum), relapsing fever (Borrelia recurrentis), and other spirochetoses. Under artificial conditions, nonpathogenic spirochetes grow on ordinary nutrient mediums and pathogenic spirochetes grow on mediums that contain serum and pieces of fresh tissue or the internal organs of animals. Some forms have not yet been grown in the laboratory.

References in periodicals archive ?
the oral spirochetes are often dominant bacterial types observed in subgingival plaque taken from sites with periodontal disease [19].
However, not all black-legged ticks carry the spirochete that causes Lyme disease.
To our knowledge, the pulmonary syphilitic abscesses seen grossly in this case have not been reported in recent literature, despite the detection of spirochetes in lung tissue.
Researchers eventually fingered corkscrew-shaped bacteria: a spirochete called Borrelia burgdorferi and closely related species.
If people are infected with the Lyme spirochetes, and not treated quickly, thousands may suffer for many years from the debilitating effects of the disease.
The researchers used several methods for examining the cultures for spirochetes including light and darkfield microscopy, silver staining, immunohistochemical staining, molecular hybridization, and PCR analysis.
A peripheral smear was prepared, which showed thrombocytopenia and multiple extracellular spirochetes.
Spirochetes produce diseases such as Lyme borreliosis, syphilis and leprospirosis.
Spirochetes in humans and other species presumably result from fecal-oral contamination, but largely appear to be nonpathogenic.
Adding the enzyme polymerase, which copies the original DNA target, prompts a chain reaction that generates millions of copies of the target, revealing the presence of spirochetes even in samples containing trace amounts of genetic material.
1) We all rejoice in how Steere sent ticks from the county to Swiss-born entomologist Willy Burgdorfer in 1985 and asked him to search for parasites, and how Burgdorfer identified Borrelia spirochetes in the gut of the tick and then the link was established: Lyme disease caused by tick-borne Borrelia.