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Spirochete presentation in inguinal lymph node section

William R. Geddie

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Credit: Spirochete presentation in inguinal lymph node section. Credit: William R. Geddie. CC0 1.0 Universal

About this work


Section of a cell block created from a fine-needle biopsy of an enlarged inguinal (groin) lymph node, showing the presence of Treponema pallidum (syphilis-causing bacteria). The Dieterle stain is one type of stain that can be used to demonstrate the organisms syphilis, and deposits silver on T. pallidum, staining them grey as seen in this image. The bacteria are transmitted through sexual contact or through the placenta during pregnancy. T. pallidum is a subtype of spirochete, so named for their corkscrew or curvy appearance. Syphilis is a staged-disease and can present sores, rashes and flu-like symptoms. If left untreated it can cause damage to the heart, brain, nervous system and bones, and even death. Syphilis is treated by antibiotics, most commonly penicillin. Horizontal image width 675 micrometres



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