Definition of spirochete in US English:

spirochete

(British spirochaete)

noun

  • A flexible spirally twisted bacterium, especially one that causes syphilis.

    Treponema and other genera, order Spirochaetales; Gram-negative

    • ‘The spirochaete responsible for syphilis was only isolated in 1905 by the German zoologist Fritz Schaudinn.’
    • ‘As in Gram-positive bacteria, the inner membrane of spirochetes is closely associated with the peptidoglycan cell wall.’
    • ‘Dark-field microscopic examination of a swabbed sample from the chancre may reveal the presence of vibrating spirochetes, but this is technically difficult and the chancre often has resolved by this stage.’
    • ‘They are genetically unrelated to non-intestinal spirochetes, such as Treponema pallidum.’
    • ‘Lyme disease, a disease transmitted by ticks carrying the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common insect-borne illness in the United States.’
    • ‘In its primary and secondary stages, syphilis induces raw, oozing genital sores in which the syphilis spirochetes multiply, eager to hitch a ride on the next sex partner.’
    • ‘It is caused by a spirochete (a type of spiral-shaped bacteria) called Borrelia burgdorferi.’
    • ‘Once fixed by microbes such as spirochetes, the nitrogen ultimately becomes available to plants and animals.’
    • ‘His other example was less obvious: Borrelia, the spirochaete responsible for the tickborne Lyme disease.’
    • ‘Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by the spirochete Treponema pallidum.’
    • ‘Penicillin also kills corkscrew organisms such as the spirochete of syphillis.’
    • ‘Lyme disease, caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, is the most common vector-borne illness in the United States.’
    • ‘And recently, researchers identified a nitrogen-fixing spirochete bacterium that lives in the gut of termites.’
    • ‘The gut sections revealed not only bits of wood but also numerous protists and bacteria, including large spirochetes.’
    • ‘The disease organism is a spirochete bacterium which can be treated successfully with antibiotics, particularly when the disease is recognized early.’
    • ‘Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to human hosts by ticks of the Ixodes genus.’
    • ‘In recent population genetic studies of Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease, Borrelia genes were directly amplified from infected ticks using a nested PCR design.’
    • ‘Visit the Microbe Zoo for pictures and information about spirochetes and other bacteria which live in the cow rumen.’
    • ‘Relapsing fever is caused by the spirochete within the genus Borrelia.’
    • ‘Even for the little wrigglers we can see on specially stained microscope slides, such as the dreaded syphilitic spirochete, there is no Date of Receipt that comes with the dose.’

Origin

Late 19th century: from spiro- ‘in a spiral’ + Greek khaitē ‘long hair’.

Pronunciation

spirochete

/ˈspīrəˌkēt/