Morgellons Syndrome

The Morgellons Syndrome (also known as Morgellons Disease) is a name given to a psychological condition. Patients have the delusional belief that they are infested with parasites, whereas in reality no such parasites are present. Sufferers may exhibit a range of cutaneous symptoms such as crawling, biting and stinging sensations (formication); unusual fibers in the skin; and persistent skin lesions (such as rashes or sores). Patients usually self-diagnose based on media reports and information found on the internet.

Medical experts, including dermatologists, entomologists and psychiatrists, have identified these symptoms as consistent with delusional parasitosis (also known as Ekbom’s Syndrome). Some cases of self-diagnosed Morgellons Syndrome have been more accurately diagnosed as known skin disorders.
In 2002, Mary Leitao founded her now defunct Morgellons Research Foundation and self-diagnosed patients successfully lobbied to investigate the condition. The American CDC published[1] the results of their multi-year study in January 2012, indicating that there were no disease organisms present in Morgellons patients, the fibers found consisted mainly of cellulose, which the CDC concluded was from cotton fibers, and suggested that patients' sensations were manifestations of "delusional infestation".

There is no known cure for Morgellons Syndrome. It is recommended that patients with these symptoms should undergo psychiatric evaluation. Many of the patients are middle-aged women and most showed signs of being obsessively concerned about health problems in general. About half of the people in the study had other health problems, including depression and drug abuse.

[1] Pearson et al: Clinical, epidemiologic, histopathologic and molecular features of an unexplained dermopathy in PLoS One - 2012 (article here)

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