Morgellons is an Unexplained Dermopathy Classified as a Delusional Parasitosis

by Dr Sam Girgis on January 26, 2012

Morgellons is a name given to a proposed medical condition that is characterized by a spectrum of symptoms that include skin sensations of crawling, biting, and stinging and the finding of fibers on or under the skin and the within skin lesions.  The disorder is based on anecdotal evidence and case reports of the disease and there is no agreed upon set of diagnostic symptoms.  After the formation of the Morgellons Research Foundation, members of the group as well as self-diagnosed patients with Morgellons were able to persuade the United States Congress and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to investigate the etiology of the proposed medical condition.  Researchers from the CDC, lead by Dr. Michele Pearson, have reported their findings online in the journal PloS ONE.  The investigators described this enigmatic disorder as an unexplained dermopathy that is characterized as a constellation of symptoms, which primarily involve the skin.  The investigators described a case of Morgellons as one that involved self reported emergence of fibers or material from the skin accompanied by the known symptoms.  The study identified 115 case patients enrolled in the Kaiser Permanente Northern California catchment area and collected epidemiological data, performed clinical evaluations, and analyzed material from the participant’s skin.  The authors concluded, “This unexplained dermopathy was rare among this population of Northern California residents, but associated with significantly reduced health-related quality of life. No common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified, similar to more commonly recognized conditions such as delusional infestation”.

See the following YouTube Video describing the condition known as Morgellons:


Michele L. Pearson et al. “Clinical, Epidemiologic, Histopathologic and Molecular Features of an Unexplained DermopathyPLoS ONE published online January 25, 2012

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