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The Morphology and Staining Characteristics of the Treponema pallidum. Review of the Literature and Description of a New Technique for Staining the Organism in Tissues *

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THE MORPHOLOGY AND STAINING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE TREPONEMA PALLIDUM. REVIEW OF THE LITERA- TURE AND DESCRIPTION OF A NEW TECHNIQUE FOR STAINING THE ORGANISM IN TISSUES* ROBERT E. CAMPBELL AND PAUL D. ROSAHN In 1905, sixty-eight years after Donne" (cf. Kolmer," Hoffmann," Ingraham5) described a regularly spiraled micro-organism in the exudates of primary syphilitic lesions of the genitalia, Schaudinn and Hoffmann""' recognized a pale, similarly spiraled organism in primary lesions and in- guinal lymph nodes of syphilitic patients. Donne, who published his find- ings in 1837, believed that he had discovered the infective agent of syphilis. His observations were confirmed by Vanoye'M in 1841 in a report that has apparently escaped the attention of syphilographers. Vanoye found the identical organism described by Donne in lesions of male and female syphili- tic patients, and he believed that the identification of these organisms in genital lesions could be utilized as a method for the diagnosis of syphilis. Little credence was initially given to the earlier work of Donne and of Vanoye, but following the rediscovery of the organism by Schaudinn and Hoffmann, investigators in widely scattered centers soon confirmed the presence of spirochetes in early active lesions of syphilis (Russia: Zele- neff''""; Scotland: Taylor; France: Brunet"8, Bodin'5, Levaditi"; Eng- land: Dudgeon'; Germany: Davidsohn', Giemsa"; Sweden: Almkvist and Jundell'; Argentina: deElizalde and Wernicke'). Demonstration techniques Numerous methods for demonstrating the organism were rapidly investigated after the spirochete of syphilis was identified by Schaudinn and Hoffmann. These techniques may be divided into two distinct groups. In the first, the spirochete is impregnated with a dye or metallic ion such as silver and rendered visible against a pale background. With the second technique, the background is stained black, or the illumination is altered so the background is darkened, and the unstained spirochete appears pale

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