January 1921


Author Affiliations


From the Montefiore Home and Hospital.

Arch Intern Med (Chic). 1921;27(1):61-70. doi:10.1001/archinte.1921.00100070064004

Ever since Obermeier, in 1873, reported the presence of microorganisms of the genus spirocheta, or spirilla, in the blood of patients with relapsing fever, many diseases have been found to be caused by varieties of this species. The most important disease due to spirochetal infection is, of course, syphilis, to which etiologic relationship of the Spirochaeta pallida was demonstrated by Schaudinn and Hoffman in 1905. Castellani subsequently found that frambesia tropica, or yaws, was caused by the Spirochaeta pertenuis. The etiologic relationship of spirochetes to Vincent's angina, Weil's disease, rat bite fever and pyorrhea alveolaris has likewise been demonstrated. It is, however, not so well known that certain pathologic processes in the bronchi and lungs are due to the activity of these microorganisms. Many years ago, Eichhorst stated that he found spirochetes in the sputum of some patients suffering from bronchitis. Bertarelli and Volpino observed Spirochaeta buccalis and Spirochaeta pallida

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