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Warthin-Starry stain

Giemsa stained spirochetes

Special Stains for Skin: Spirochetes

Spirochetes are spiral or corkscrew-shaped bacteria. These organisms are the cause of syphilis and Lyme disease. Silver stains are typically used to identify spirochetes, but Giemsa can also be used as a quick screen for microorganisms.

Warthin-Starry silver stain: Demonstrates spirochetes by staining them black.

Giemsa stain: Demonstrates spirochetes (as well as other microorganisms and mast cells) by staining them blue.