rickettsia, chlamydia, mycoplasma
Some light reading on the smallest parasites, also keep in mind each one of these has bio-warfare cousins and mycoplasma fermentens (patented by the U,S. Army):
The rickettsia are bacteria which are obligate intracellular parasites. They are considered a separate group of bacteria because they have the common feature of being spread by arthropod vectors (lice, fleas, mites and ticks). The cells are extremely small (0.25 u in diameter) rod-shaped, coccoid and often pleomorphic microorganisms which have typical bacterial cell walls, no flagella, are gram-negative and multiply via binary fission only inside host cells. They occur singly, in pairs, or in strands. Most species are found only in the cytoplasm of host cells, but those which cause spotted fevers multiply in nuclei as well as in cytoplasm. In the laboratory, they may be cultivated in living tissues such as embryonated chicken eggs or vertebrate cell cultures.
The drugs of choice for the treatment of rickettsial diseases are chloramphenicol and tetracycline. Each of these is highly toxic, especially in children, and must be used with care. The sulfonamides stimulate rickettsial growth and thus are contraindicated in the treatment of these diseases.
Lyme Disease - A Biological Weapon?