Please note that the former Health Protection Agency (HPA) is now part of Public Health England (PHE)

Borrelia Spirochaete Microscopy

Slide 1

Slide 2

This darkfield micrograph from 1910 shows Treponema Pallidum spirochaetes which cause syphillis. They are similar in size to the borrelia genus spirochaetes which cause Lyme borreliosis and have been observable with darkfield microscopy for over 100 years; and in fact darkfield microscopy is still used to diagnose syphilis today. In 2014, Fantry et al wrote in AntiMicrobe, "Dark field microscopy is still the most sensitive, direct, and quickest method for diagnosing syphilis."

Slide 3

This drawing from 1912 by Hindle shows an important and repeatedly documented phenomenon of spirochaetes which we call 'string of pearls' morphology. Hindle wrote: "The spirochaete gradually assumes the appearance of a chain of beads contained within the transparent cell-wall"… and remarked: "I have frequenty observed the breaking up of the spirochaete into a number of coccoid forms (?spores)… "

Slide 4

In 2013, Professors Mysterud and Laane published this micrograph of a Lyme patient's blood showing the 'string of pearls' morphology in Lyme borreliosis spirochaetes.

Slide 5

These video clips are from an experiment in which 11 friends provided a tiny amount of fingertip blood on a microscope slide. All donors were met through patient support groups and have chronic illness.
8 of 11 have been ill for 20 years or longer.
9 have been diagnosed with M.E. or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
10 of 11 had negative NHS tests for Lyme borreliosis - one was not tested.
9 had private tests that were positive.
These eleven donors represent a total of 235 years of illness and 170 years of lost productivity.

Slide 6

Some more video clips from the same experiment. It should be noted that freshly made slides show no or little sign of these organisms. Their emergence and growth is triggered by the changed environment of being on a microscope slide. The fact that they are not initially seen, can confidently dismiss PHE's assertion that these organisms could be collagen fibrils. If they were, they would be visible immediately when the slide was prepared. Aside from this, if a person had this many collagen fibrils in their blood stream their connective tissues would be in such a state that they would be literally disintegrating. Furthermore, neither collagen fibrils nor collagen fibres convert into a string of pearls, they decompose into nanometre proteins molecules.

Slide 7

On a similar slide with growing spirochaetes I added a drop of dilute Sodium Chlorite which is highly bactericidal. The spirochaetes gradually stiffened and became rigid. They lose their flexibility and appear to be dead, although proving that they are actually dead and no longer viable would require further experiments.

Slide 8

In this clip you can see that a common antibiotic has a similar effect. The spirochetes are becoming rigid and look unnatural compared to those seen earlier.

Slide 9

Gelatin experiment. PHE claim that spirochaetes could not be seen emerging from blood cells (as in Mysterud and Laane's micrograph) because they are 'extracellular' bacteria. In these clips, intracellular spirochaetes can be seen inside red blood cells. They are motile, they are growing and are reproducing through the string-of-pearls morphology. When the process is complete, multiple spirochaetes will emerge from the cells under the correct conditions.

Slide 10

Gelatin closer view. With some cells that have become transparent, you can get an impression of where the cell membrane is, but you cannot see the cell membrane itself - it is too thin to be seen. PHE claim that spirochaetes are fragments of blood cell membranes which are disintegrating. In fact these membranes are only 75 angstroms in thickness - that is 7.5 nanometres, or two-and-a-half times thinner than the smallest virus known to science. They cannot be seen with visible light microscopy. Furthermore, if these were, and I quote: "fragments shed from degenerating red and white blood cells", how did so many manage to roll themselves into a neat tube and stick one end onto an intact blood cell?

Slide 11

Slide 12

Slide 13

Slide 14

These 4 micrographs show the classic hellical spirochaetes that grew in samples from 5 of the same donors above, when their blood samples were cultured in a special borrelia spirochaete growth medium called BSK. These spirochaetes grew in every sample tested in this way. Unfortunately, this method often takes 5 months to get these results which is too slow for patients and doctors, though it may have other utility. Much quicker culture results can be achieved by providing certain additives and precisely controlled conditions. This is the method used by Advanced Laboratory Services in the USA which frequently achieves results in one or two weeks and can even further refine results to positively identify the spirochaete species.

Slide 15

These images show one donor's blood culture that reacted with a Molecular Beacon 100% specific for Borrelia burgdorferi. This molecular beacon will only fluoresce, or shine brightly as in these pictures, if the DNA sequence used in the beacon finds a perfect match in the sample. These are borrelia burgdorferi spirochaetes. Yet this donor was negative for borreliosis according to the NHS. However, they had private tests that were positive.

The disparaging of microscopy by PHE and the objections that they raise are so unscientific and illogical, that it must raise questions about their motives, objectivity and competence. In spite of years of patients repeatedly raising concerns, providing information and references, PHE have not improved their methods or knowledge of this dangerous pathogen. Their anti-science and anti-patient conduct is unacceptable.

Additional Slides that there was not time for:


Slide 16

Additional evidence of the widely documented 'string of pearls' morphology of spirochaetes

Slide 17

And more

Slide 18

Public Health England claim that spirochaetes could not be seen emerging from blood cells (as in Mysterud and Laane's micrograph) because they are 'extracellular' bacteria - in other words they live outside host cells and don't invade them. However, imagine a tiny blood sample with 1,000 blood cells and 50 'extracellular' spirochaetes:

Slide 19

The red dots are 1,000 blood cells and the green squiggles are 50 extracellular spirochaetes, all of which are now going to randomly attach themselves to a blood cell. The odds of a blood cell getting a single spirochaete attached are 20:1 because there are 20 times more blood cells than there are spirochaetes. However, the odds of getting more than one spiro attached increases exponentially:

Slide 20

Slide 21

Therefore, Mysterud and Laane were
with a single ticket than they were to ever see this phenomenon
(if as Public Health England claim, these spirochaetes were extracellular):


Slide 22

Health Protection Agency to Health and Safety Exectutive Youtube link
A document relating to: 'Lyme Disease and services in the HPA' dated October 16th 2012 was submitted to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), Advisory Committee on Dangerous Pathogens (ADCP), which includes Dr Tim Brooks as an author.

The HPA document states (p.21)
"The majority of patients recover fully, although in some cases it may take several months for symptoms to fully resolve. Despite this, a number of papers have been published claiming to have found evidence of Lyme Borrelia after treatment. Most of these rely on discredited methodology or artefacts (e.g. see 2008)."

Here is the video that the HPA(PHE) chose to send to the HSE as an example of "discredited methodology or artefacts":

Slide 23

The video above is from 2008 is obviously not very good. Whoever made it at least had a go and I am sure, did their best - we all have to start somewhere. But actually, it is 'brightfield' microscopy which is not the right type of illumination for observing spirochaetes.

Slide 24

Here are clips from videos I had on Youtube and on my own website from 2007, 2008 and 2010 - they similar to other examples available in the public domain:

Slide 25

So why, in 2012, did the HPA choose to send the HSE a link to such a poor quality video?

Do they seriously think that it is a fair representation of video microscopy?

Or did they want to mislead the HSE?

No, that cannot be. Misleading, obstructing or obfuscating information provided to officers of the HSE in the conduct of their investigations is illegal.

Aside from which, why would any responsible person deliberately mislead the HSE which has saved literally millions of people from work-related illnesses, workplace injuries and even death?

Perhaps the HPA meant it as a joke?



Meeting at Parliament
Reply to Dr Tim Brooks' final comments

Following Denise Longman's presentation, Lady Mar (meeting chair) gave Dr Tim Brooks of PHE an opportunity to reply. Dr Brooks remarked on the microscopy presentation to the affect, that the number of spirochaetes was so high in some videos (also pointing out that I mentioned this as excluding the possibility that these agents could be collagen fibrils - as claimed by PHE); that they could not be spirochaetes because there were too many in such a small sample.

D Brooks' assertion echoes the basis of PHE's unvalidated claims: Professor Duerden's "REPORT ON LYME DISEASE" which states:

"The objects purported to be borreliae in the whole blood films are not considered to be borreliae but to represent artefacts of the method used. If they were spirochaetes the number demonstrated by light microscopy in such a small sample would indicate a substantial spirochaetaemia which could readily be confirmed or refuted by electron microscopy, immunofluorescence or PCR."

1. When I dismissed the notion that these agents could be collagen fibrils, I explicitly pointed out that the agents (spirochaetes) are either not seen, or only seen in very small numbers on freshly made slides.

2. It is this fact that contradicts the idea that these could be collagen fibrils, which if present would be visible immediately upon preparation of a slide. I pointed out that it is the change of conditions from being in the circulation to being on a microscope slide that triggers growth of the spirochaetes.

3. Therefore, patients do not have masses of extracellular spirochaetes in their circulation. They are present as tiny cysts or are intracellular.

4. I also explained that the intra-erythrocyte spirochaetes were undergoing 'string of pearls' morphology, so that under the right conditions, many spirochaetes could exit a single infected cell. The videos that I showed of intracellular spirochaetes demonstrated erythrocytes (red blood cells) infected at a ratio of (very ball-park estimate) perhaps 1 infected cell to : 20 or more with no sign of infection.

5. This rate of infection is no more (and often considerably less) than is seen with Plasmodium (malaria) or babesiosis.

6. Because the spirochaetes grow in length rapidly and thicken as they form a 'string of pearls', they are very obvious, but their actual number is not excessive.

7. The number of spirochaetes present does sometimes appear rather shocking. But the reality is, that whilst this might represent an appalling level of infection and look very dramatic, it is not only feasible, but completely reasonable in comparison with other intra-erythrocyte infections.

8. What is more shocking in my opinion, is that PHE's tests cannot detect this level of spirochaete infection yet they go on claiming 100% sensitivity.

It is the unscientific and illogical approach seen yet again in Dr Brooks remarks, that have allowed Lyme borreliosis to grow into an epidemic, whilst Public Health England practice anti-science based upon nothing more substantial than opinions.