The Mystery of Morgellons Disease

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About 10 years ago I remember having a patient that complained of having the sensation of bugs or worms crawling under her skin. She even described these dark filamentous objects that would come out of the skin. These sensations were literally making her crazy. The patient had seen numerous other physicians looking for answers. Because she was on high doses of narcotics and I could not find any cause of her symptoms I wrote her off as having delusional parasitosis.

More recently I have had another patient with almost the exact same symptoms. She too had seen many specialists and was even hospitalized but nothing was found. Because this patient was not on narcotics I took her symptoms more seriously but still in the back of my mind wondered – was she delusional. In her quest to find help she recently gave me articles that described her condition.

Morgellons disease is based on a disease described in 1674 by Sir Thomas Browne, as follows: “Hairs which have most amused me have not been in the face or head, but on the back, and not in men but children, as I long ago observed in that endemial distemper of little children in Languedock, called the Morgellons, wherein they critically break out with harsh Hairs on their backs, which takes off the unquiet symptoms of the disease, and delivers them from coughs and convulsions.”

Biopsies and electron scanning electron micrographs have shown these filamentous hairs but to date no known organism or treatment has been found. For more information on this mysterious disease go to www.morgellons.org.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD