An Introduction to Morgellons Disease: All You Need to Know

There are many strange and bizarre afflictions out there; the human body is an extremely complicated piece of machinery and unfortunately there’s a lot that can go wrong with it. Usually these ailments are definitive and a clear-cut path exists for their treatment; sometimes, however, a condition exists that defies doctors’ expectations and confounds the medical community at large. Morgellons disease is one such condition. A relative newcomer in the pantheon of human afflictions, Morgellons was discovered in 2001, not by a doctor but by a concerned mother. It has gone on to baffle medical professionals ever since. You might have never heard of Morgellons disease – but fortunately, that’s why we’ve compiled a handy introduction to this strange, unexplained disorder.

 

The disease was discovered and named in 2001 by an American woman named Mary Leitao, after her two-year-old son developed sores under his lip and started complaining of ‘bugs’. After taking a closer look under a microscope, Leitao discovered a number of black, blue, red and white fibres in and around his sores. This strange symptom would go on to be one of the most controversial angles of Morgellons, and also one of the most consistent. Obviously concerned, she brought her son to a number of doctors, all of whom could find nothing wrong. After a renowned pediatrician found nothing abnormal on the boy’s skin, the focus turned to Leitao; it was suggested she was suffering from Munchausen’s by Proxy and should be referred for psychiatric care.

 

Make Well - Morgellons lesions
Morgellons disease can result in severe scarring and lesions.

 

However, Leitao continued to monitor her son, and discovered that more fibers and more sores continued to appear on his body. She and her husband, an internist with Pennsylvania’s South Allegheny Internal Medicine, were convinced that their son suffered from a previously unknown disease, and that disease needed a name. Leitao chose Morgellons (pronounced with a hard ‘g’), after discovering the word in an old medical essay. As distinctive as it may be, this enigmatic name has not helped with the condition’s reputation in some medical circles, and it remains an obscure condition with relatively little research conducted on its origin. Unsatisfied with the response from the medical profession at large, Leitao founded the Morgellons Research Foundation in 2002, and reported cases from all 50 states of the U.S., as well as patients from other territories, including Canada, the U.K., Australia and mainland Europe. In addition, charity-esque organisations such as The Charles E. Holman Foundation have increased in popularity, with the donation-led society focusing on education, research, diagnosis and treatment of Morgellons Disease.

 

For a largely unknown disease, the main symptoms of Morgellons are actually incredibly distinctive and unique. The prevalent issue is large amounts of skin rashes or sores, which cause intense itching sensations. These infuriating urges cause patients to scratch themselves emphatically, thereby irritating the sores further, and not allowing them the chance to heal. This vicious cycle is one of the key detrimental elements of Morgellons. As well as the omnipresent itching, patients will often feel like something is crawling under their skin, which harkens back to Mary Leitao’s son’s initial description of ‘bugs’. These crawling, scratching and biting sensations can often be extremely debilitating and unpleasant for patients; unfortunately, it is this exact symptom which has often led medical professionals to write off Morgellons as ‘delusional parasitosis’, a psychological condition where the patient incorrectly believes they are infested with some form of parasites.

 

The other main symptom of Morgellons is easily the most bizarre; it involves fibres, threads and stringy material apparently forming on the skin of the patient. They are predominantly black, though they can be blue, red or white. It is still unknown where these fibers come from, and attempts to analyse them have resulted in confusion and wildly varying results. Other lesser-pronounced symptoms involve severe fatigue, difficulty concentrating and short-term memory loss. These can often be explained as a byproduct of the mental stress of the itching symptom, which take up a lot of the patient’s preoccupation, resulting in obsessive thoughts and reduced faculties.

 

Make Well - Morgellons fibers
A close-up of Morgellon’s fibers embedded in a patient’s skin callus.

 

The research previously conducted on Morgellons has relegated it to a psychiatric disorder, and has explained away the fibres formed on the skin as strands of fabric from clothes. This occurrence happens to everyone, of course, but some doctors insist that the apparent obsessive mindset and tendencies of Morgellons patients make them hypersensitive to any microscopic changes on their body. However, for the patients that are crippled under the weight of an all-too-real disease, this is hardly a satisfactory answer. Recent research has revealed that Morgellons may in fact be a rare form of chronic Lyme disease, an affliction which affects thousands of people across the globe. Specialists estimate that around 5% of these sufferers have Morgellons; while the exact mechanisms of how the two conditions interact is unknown, a solid link between them is relieving news for Morgellons patients everywhere.

 

Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Lyme disease or Morgellons. Treatment plans are often multi-pronged, as the length of time the patient has had the condition is usually a major factor. Make Well are experts when it comes to producing natural supportive treatments for Lyme disease, and are well-versed in its symptoms. They have recently turned their attention to Morgellons, armed with the research showing the link between the two. Their new product MRG Derm is aimed exclusively at patients and doctors dealing with Morgellons disease, and provides a natural, high-quality supplement to aid in the battle against this mysterious affliction, helping patients to come to terms with a disease that many medical professionals claim is all in their head.

 

While Morgellons is coming to the fore in some medical circles (the 11th Annual Medical – Scientific Morgellons Conference has just taken place in Austin, Texas), there is still a lot to be learned about this strange and rare disorder. The first stage in the fight is getting the medical community at large to accept Morgellons as a genuine condition, and not some specialised form of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Only then can the true work of curing the disease begin in earnest.

Morgellons Disease: Why This Medical ‘Myth’ Is All Too Real