Treponema pallidum

A bacterium responsible for causing syphilis.

Small agent and cannot be detected by ordinary microscopy.

Cannot be isolated in culture.

Organism seen on dark field microscopy.

A corkscrew shaped organism.

Identified by darkfield microscopy or direct fluorescent antibody test.

Typically screened for by nontreponemal serologic tests VDRL ( Venereal Disease Research Laboratory) and the RPR test.

If screening tests are positive the fluorescent treponemal antibody absorption or T pallium particle agglutination test are performed.

Extremely sensitive to penicillin, but has a slow doubling time and requires prolonged antibiotic exposure for control of infection.

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