Spirillum / sprilm/
• n. (pl. spirilla / -l/ ) a bacterium (genus Spirillum) with a rigid spiral structure, found in stagnant water and sometimes
causing disease.

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Ultrastructure of another spiral organism associated with human gastritis  

Summary   Campylobacter pylori may not be the only organism that causes active chronic gastritis in man. We report
two cases of gastric infection with a spiral organism distinct fromC. pylori. The first patient is a 36-year-old female
who presented with epigastric pain and abdominal colic present since childhood and who had 14 cats. Endoscopy
was normal. The second patient kept two dogs. Histology of gastric mucosal biopsy specimens in both patients
revealed active chronic gastritis, most severe in body mucosa. Giemsa stain revealed bacteria with four to eight
spirals, 0.5 m in diameter and 3–7 m in length. The organisms had multiple sheathed flagella at the pole and smooth
cell walls without axial filaments. The organisms resembled the gastric spirillum that has been seen in cats, dogs, and
nonhuman primates. After antibacterial therapy with bismuth subsalicylate, amoxicillin, and metronidazole, the
organisms disappeared in both patients and the gastritis healed.

UnlikeC. pylori, this new spirillum prefers to colonize gastric mucosa containing parietal cells. Whereas this type of
organism is a common commensal in other mammals, it appears to be associated with and a possible cause of
gastritis in humans.

Digestive Diseases and Sciences  Volume 34, Number 11 / November, 1989


Any of the spiral-shaped bacteria that make up the genus Spirillum, which are aquatic except for one species that
causes a type of rat-bite fever in humans. The term is used generally for any corkscrewlike species of bacteria (
spirochete). Spirilla are gram-negative ( gram stain) and move by means of tufts of flagella at each end
From: Britannica Concise Encyclopedia  |  Date: 2007

Any of an order (Spirochaetales) of spiral-shaped bacteria. Some are serious pathogens for humans, causing such
diseases as syphilis, yaws, and relapsing fever.
Spirochetes are gram-negative ( gram stain) and motile. They are
unique in that their flagella, which number between two and more than 200 per organism, are contained within the
cell. Most spirochetes are found in a liquid environment (e.g., mud and water, blood and lymph). Several species are
borne by lice and ticks, which transmit them to humans.
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