Spirochetes are large spiral-shaped motile bacteria. They belong to order Spirochaetales. There are two families of this order as Spirochaetaceae and Leptospiraceae. Borrelia and Treponema are two genera belonging to family spirochaetaceae. Genus Leptospira belongs to family leptospiraceae. All three genera, Treponema, Borrelia and Leptospira, are pathogenic to humans.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Treponema
3. What is Borrelia
4. What is Leptospira
5. Similarities Between Treponema Borrelia and Leptospira
6. Side by Side Comparison – Treponema vs Borrelia vs Leptospira in Tabular Form
What is Treponema?
Treponema is a genus of spirochaetes. They are slender spirals which are regularly spaced. These bacteria are highly active and rotate steadily around their endoflagella. Some Treponema species are human pathogens, but there are non-pathogenic Treponema species as well.
Non-pathogenic treponemes may be part of the normal flora of the intestinal tract, the oral cavity, or the genital tract. Pathogenic species Treponema pallidum causes syphilis or congenital infections worldwide. Transmission takes place solely via sexual contact. Bejel (endemic syphilis) and yaws are two other treponematoses.
What is Borrelia?
Borrelia is a genus of spirochaetes. They are larger than other spirochaetes. They are irregular wide coils. Moreover, they are motile, gram-negative bacteria which are commensal in mouth and genitals. They have internal flagella.
B. recurrentis, B. vicentti, and B. burgdoferi are three medically important Borrelia species. B. recurrentis causes relapsing fever. B. vicentti causes Vincent’s angina while B. burgdoferi causes Lyme disease. Borrelia species are transmitted by tick or louse bites.
What is Leptospira?
Leprospira is a genus that belongs to family leptospiraceae. These bacteria are closely wound coils that are actively motile. They have internal flagella. They also have characteristic hooked ends. Some Leptospira species are human pathogens while some are non-pathogenic.
Non-pathogenic species are saprophytes. Leptospirosis is a disease caused by Leptospira. Leptospira enters the host through the mucosa and broken skin. Human infection occurs through the contact of urine of infected animals. However, human to human transmission of Leptospira is very rare.
What are the Similarities Between Treponema Borrelia and Leptospira?
- Leptospira, Treponema, and Borrelia are three genera of the order Spirochaetales.
- They are motile, unicellular, spiral-shaped organisms.
- Moreover, they are gram-negative bacteria.
- They all are pathogenic to man.
- They have internal flagella.
What is the Difference Between Treponema Borrelia and Leptospira?
Treponema is a genus of spirochaetes that causes syphilis while Borrelia is a genus of spirochaetes that cause Lyme disease and relapsing fever and Leptospira is a genus of spirochaetes that causes leptospirosis. So, this is the key difference between treponema borrelia and leptospira. Treponema and Borrelia belong to family spirochaetaceae while Leptospira belongs to family leptospiraceae. Moreover, Treponema and Borrelia are not hooked while Leptospira is hooked.
The below infographic shows more details of the difference between treponema borrelia and leptospira.
Summary – Treponema Borrelia vs Leptospira
Trepenoma, Borrelia and Leptospira are three genera of spirochaetes that are pathogenic to humans. They are gram-negative motile bacteria. All are spiral-shaped bacteria. Treponema causes syphilis, while Borrelia causes lyme disease and relapsing fever and Leptospira causes leptospirosis. Treponema and Borrelia belong to family spirochaetaceae while Leptospira belongs to family leptospiraceae. Moreover, Treponema and Borrelia are not hooked while Leptospira is hooked. Thus, this summarizes the difference between treponema borrelia and leptospira.
1. “Treponema pallidum 01” By CDC – CDC (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Borrelia burgdorferi (CDC-PHIL -6631) lores” By CDC – from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL) (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
3. “Leptospira interrogans strain RGA 01” By Obtained from the CDC Public Health Image Library.Image credit: CDC/NCID/HIP/Janice Carr (PHIL #1220). – (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia