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August 10, 1912


Author Affiliations

Buffalo, N. Y.

From the Laboratory of Bacteriology, University of Buffalo.

JAMA. 1912;LIX(6):446. doi:10.1001/jama.1912.04270080128024

In the routine examination of smears from the mouth, as carried out by students in the class-room, a considerable number were found, which, when stained by the Giemsa method, showed spirochetes morphologically resembling Spirochœta pallida. As some observers have considered it possible to make a diagnosis of syphilis by the finding of Spirochœta pallida in smears from suspicious sores in the mouth and pharynx, it was thought desirable to examine the smears from a number of normal mouths.

Smears were accordingly made from apparently healthy mouths, using the deposit at the junction of the gums with the teeth, and from the root of the tongue. After fixation in absolute alcohol they were stained by Giemsa's rapid method. Smears from each case were also stained by Loeffler's methylene-blue or an aqueous solution of gentian-violet.

Three main types of spirochetes were found:

1. The large Spirochœta buccalis with long flat curves, which