Treponema pallidum subsp. pallidum
(etiologic agent of syphilis)
/ T. pallidum subsp. pertenue
(etiologic agent of yaws) / T. paraluiscuniculi
(also known as Treponema
code: B0010 -
Ultrasensitive qualitative detection but not differentiation of
Treponema pallidum suspecies pallidum
and pertenue, and
Treponema paraluiscuniculi, by real time PCR
is a genus of commonly found, gram-negative, spirochete
and subspecies pertenue,
along with T.
share a nearly identical genome. It is usually not practical nor
necessary to differentiate them by molecular or serological
means, so their exact identification,
if necessary, is usually inferred based on host
species and infection site.
The oral cavity, gastrointestinal tract and vagina are the main
colonization sites for bacteria of this genus.
Treponema pallidum is
one of the Treponema
species that colonizes the vaginal area in humans and is the causative
organism of syphilis. T.
pallidum is a motile spirochete that is generally acquired
by close sexual contact; the bacteria enter host tissue by
breaches in squamous or columnar epithelium. The major symptom
is a primary chancre (an area of ulceration and inflammation) in
genital areas. If untreated the disease can progress to
secondary and tertiary syphilis, characterized by maculopapular
rashes and central nervous system involvement.
suspecies pertenue is
the etiologic agent of yaws in both humans and nonhuman
primates. Infection of NHPs by this subspecies appears to be
widespread at least in subsaharan Africa (Chuma et al., 2018).
Nonhuman primates may represent a reservoir of this pathogen,
and thus the presence of
Treponema infections in NHPs may be important for yaws
research and One Health initiatives (Knauf et al., 2013).
Unlike T. pallidum,
causes venereal spirochetosis only in rabbits and is known as
rabbit syphilis, vent disease, or cuniculosis. Although its
genome structure is closely related to other pathogenic
including T. pallidum,
does not infect humans. Interestingly,
can also infect hares but it does not cause disease in hare
species. Rabbits infected with
T. paraluiscuniculi do
not develop symptoms quickly; in fact a significant percentage
of infected rabbits may not develop any apparent symptoms but
remain as carriers. Young rabbits are especially resistant to
infection. After 3-6 weeks of incubation, crusty lesions may
sometimes be observed around the anus, genitals or face. These
lesions can worsen to exude serum or blood.
Microscopy and serology are not useful methods to detect these bacteria
due to the similarity in physical and genomic characteristics of
these pathogenic bacteria with other non-pathogenic species;
serological cross-reactivity with other closely related but
non-pathogenic species of
Treponema often gives rise to false positive serology
results. Molecular detection by PCR is the method of choice to
quickly and specifically identify
T. pallidum and
(Gayet-Ageron et al., 2015).
Help confirm the disease causing agent
Shorten the time required to confirm a clinical
diagnosis of Treponema
Help ensure that colonies are free of
Early prevention of spread of
among a facility
Minimize human exposure to
Safety monitoring of biological products that derive
Knauf, S., Liu, H., and Harper, K. (2013)
Treponemal Infection in Nonhuman Primates as Possible Reservoir
for Human Yaws. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19(12): 2058–2060.
Gayet-Ageron, A., Sednaoui, P., Lautenschlager, S., Ferry, T.,
Toutous-Trellu, L., Cavassini, M., Perneger, T. (2015). Use of
Treponema pallidum PCR
in testing of ulcers for diagnosis of primary syphilis. Emerging
Infectious Diseases, 21(1), 127-129.
Chuma IS, Batamuzi EK, Collins DA, Fyumagwa RD, Hallmaier-Wacker
LK, Kazwala RR, Keyyu JD, Lejora IA, Lipende IF, Lüert S,
Paciência FMD, Piel A, Stewart FA, Zinner D, Roos C, Knauf S.
(2018) Widespread Treponema pallidum Infection in Nonhuman Primates, Tanzania.
Emerging Infectious Diseases, 24(6):1002-1009.
or vaginal swab, or 0.2 ml whole blood
in EDTA (purple top) or ACD (yellow top) tube, or 0.2 ml serum
or CSF, or 0.2 ml fresh, frozen or fixed tissue.
Contact Zoologix if advice is needed to determine an appropriate specimen type for a specific diagnostic application. For specimen types not listed here, please contact Zoologix to confirm specimen acceptability and shipping instructions.
specimen types, if there will be a delay in shipping, or during
very warm weather, refrigerate specimens until shipped and ship
with a cold pack unless more stringent shipping requirements are
specified. Frozen specimens should be shipped so as to remain
frozen in transit. See shipping
instructions for more information.
2 business days
real time polymerase chain reaction