Notes on Treponema

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Genus: Treponema.

• Poorly Gram-.

Treponema pallidum.

• Endoflagella; periplasmic flagella.

• Obligate not intracellular.

• Found in human genital tract; crosses placenta.


• Endarteritis resulting in lesions.


• Syphilis: three types.

• Primary: nontender chancre; heals spontaneously; contagious.

• Secondary: maculopapular rash on skin/palms/soles; patchy alopecia; condylomata lata and mucous membrane lesions; heal spontaneously.

• Tertiary: years later; gummas, aortitis, CNS inflammation; negative VDRL.

Congenital syphilis.

• Babies of IV drug abusing women.


• Visualize by immunoflorescence or dark-field microscopy.

• Two types of antibodies:

• Nontreponemal: binds cardiolipin (these are host antigens(?)).

• Treponemal: earliest; binds spirochetes.

• TORCH screen.


• Benzathine penicillin.

Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction:

• Occurs with antibiotic treatment of spirochete diseases.

Additional Readings:

Basic Bacteriology

1. Bacterial Locations and Toxins
2. Growth Medias and Oxygen Requirements
3. Staphylococus
4. Streptococcus
5. Enterococcus
6. Bacillus
7. Listeria
8. Corynebacterium
9. Actinomyces
10. Nocadria
11. Mycobacterium
12. Clostridium
13. Neisseria
14. Pseudomonas
15. Legionella
16. Bordetella
17. Francisella
18. Brucella
19. Campylobacter
20. Escherichia
21. Shigella
22. Klebsiella
23. Salmonella
24. Yersinia
25. Proteus
26. Vibrio
27. Pasteurella
28. Haemophilus
29. Bacteriodes and Prevotella
30. Treponema
31. Borrelia
32. Rickettsia
33. Coxiella
34. Ehrlichia
35. Chlamydia
36. Mycoplasma
37. What is an ELEK's Test?
38. Causes of Orchitis
39. What is Leprosy?
40. What is Folliculitis?
41. What is Botulism?
42. How to interpret PPD (Purified Protein Derivative) results?
43. Prenatal Infections

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1. Bacterial vs viral infections

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