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Open Access Case report

Intestinal Spirochetosis mimicking inflammatory bowel disease in children

Rossana Helbling1, Maria-Chiara Osterheld2, Bernard Vaudaux3, Katia Jaton4 and Andreas Nydegger1*

Author affiliations

1 Pediatric Gastroenterology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Lausanne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Rue du Bugnon 46, CH-1011 Lausanne, Switzerland

2 Institute of Pathology, University of Lausanne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Rue du Bugnon 48, CH-1011, Lausanne, Switzerland

3 Pediatric Infectious Disease Unit, Department of Pediatrics, University of Lausanne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Rue du Bugnon 46, CH-1011, Lausanne, Switzerland

4 Institute of Microbiology, University of Lausanne, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, Rue du Bugnon 48, CH-1011, Lausanne, Switzerland

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Citation and License

BMC Pediatrics 2012, 12:163  doi:10.1186/1471-2431-12-163

Published: 16 October 2012

Abstract

Background

Intestinal spirochetosis is an unusual infection in children and its clinical significance in humans is uncertain. The presence of these microorganisms in humans is well-known since the late 1800’s and was first described in 1967 by Harland and Lee by electron microscopy.

Case presentation

This article reports the findings of one pediatric case, review of the current literature, and an overview of therapeutic options.

Conclusion

A high degree of suspicion is required in cases presenting with abdominal pain, chronic diarrhoea and/or hematochezia associated with a normal endoscopic examination, thus emphasizing the importance of multiple biopsies throughout the colon.

Keywords:
Intestinal spirochetosis; Brachyspira aalborgi; Brachyspira pilosicoli; Inflammatory bowel disease