No Creepy Crawlies Here: Morgellons Disease is a Mental, Not Physical, Disorder

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Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of crawling and biting and stinging.  They describe parasites that lurk underneath their skin, leaving alien fibers in their wake.  Often, physical symptoms appear, such as rashes or lesions.

And now, science is telling them their disease is all in their minds, the Los Angeles Times reported.

After a comprehensive study of 108 Morgellons patients, the Mayo Clinic has concluded that the disease is a mental, rather than physical disorder.  The technical term is ‘delusional parasitosis.’

The researchers scanned skin samples from the patients, and only one proved to have an actual infestation – of pubic lice.

The symptoms of the rest of the patients, researchers speculated, either arose from mundane skin conditions that gave rise to delusions of infestation, or were the result of the patients scratching or picking at their skin.

As for the strange fibers?  Examination under microscope revealed those to be either skin flakes, scabs, hair, lint, textile fiber or everyday debris.

The Mayo Clinic study is the first to disprove the existence of a potentially new disease outbreak.

“We recognize it has taken time, and people and their families are suffering, but at same time, it’s important to release these findings appropriately and to ensure their scientific integrity,” said CDC spokeswoman Lola Russell.

While the revelation is likely bittersweet for the patients who have self-diagnosed themselves as Morgellons, researchers warn doctors and dermatologists not to dismiss any patient who describes similar symptoms because the person may suffer from an actual infestation, such as lice or bedbugs.

The study was published in the Archives of Dermatology.

Click here to read more from the Los Angeles Times.