Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Art and Science of Laboratory Medicine

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Spirochete unseen before in humans

The 96th Medical Group’s laboratory provided the first-ever human-blood sample of a spirochete bacteria, borrelia turicatae, known to cause tick-borne relapsing fever to be cultured at the Centers for Disease Control.

The bacteria, borrelia turicatae, had previously only been cultured in animals, according to Maj. (Dr.) Benjamin Stermole, Eglin's infectiologist.

The rare spirally twisted bacteria was found after a primary care doctor ordered a malaria smear sample for a sick Soldier. After review of the patient's blood sample, Dolli Lane, 96th MDG laboratory technician, realized she had something unusual and alerted others. What she noticed when scanning a red blood cell sample looking for malaria, was one spirochete was outside the red blood cells. At first, Lane said she wasn't sure what she was looking at.'

Read more:
Medical Group first to find bacteria unseen in humans 

Source: Air Force Medical Service

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