Morgellons disease is a rare, controversial, unexplained skin disorder characterized by crawling, sores, crawling sensations on and below the skin, and fiber-like filaments emerging from the sores. Some medical experts say Morgellons is a physical infection or diseases. While, others experts suggest it is a type of psychosis called "delusional parasitosis," in which patient may feel like something is crawling, biting, or stinging all over and a person thinks parasites have infected their skin. Physicians and patients often misjudge Morgellons symptoms as being parasitic in origin but researchers found that no parasites are involved with the etiology of Morgellons. It has also been found that there are no fungal components to the etiology of Morgellons. Borrelia, a spirochetal bacterium, has been discovered in all Morgellons patients for study so far. Borrelia is identified by multiple methods in large quantity within Morgellons skin lesions including culture.
Morgellons disease is a quite uncommon disorder or illness that most commonly affects middle-aged white women. A number of cases occurred in California, which provoked the CDC to conduct a research study to define if the cases were somehow related. Moreover, another study carried out in London reviewed five years of cases, from 2003 to 2008, and found 18 patients with a diagnosis of mysterious dermopathy or Morgellons. Of these, 83 percent were middle-aged women and 69 percent were white. Cause of disease is still unknown, research on this syndrome has so far not found it to be caused by an infection. It is therefore not transmissible. Moreover, this condition has not been found to be caused by an environmental contaminant.
People who have Morgellons disease report the following signs and symptoms:
- Intense itching
- Crawling sensations under the skin
- Spontaneously–appearing, slow-healing lesions
- Seed-like objects/ granules and black specks on/in skin
- “Fuzz balls” on/in intact skin
- Fine, thread like colored fibers beneath and/or extruding from the skin
- Life altering fatigue
- Neurological impairment
- Visual and hearing changes
- Brain fog and diminished higher cognitive abilities
- Hair loss
- Gastrointestinal changes
- Muscle aches, Joint pain
- General malaise; intense, life-impacting pain
- Dental deterioration
- Sleep disturbances
- Psychiatric manifestations can include anxiety, depression, new onset of panic attacks, changes in behavior and personality
- Difficulty concentrating
- Short-term memory loss
At present, there are no diagnostic laboratory tests specifically targeting Morgellons disease. Patient suffering from disease can be identified by medical history, and complaints as well as healthcare provider can ask questions about medical and mental health. Physician can perform a physical examination and may order a variety of lab tests to determine the appropriate diagnosis. Unfortunately, there are no tests currently available that are 100% accurate for diagnosing disease.
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While there is no precise treatment for Morgellons disease, individuals who suffer from this disorder have been found to benefit from medications that treat psychosis (Phobia) or tics, like olanzapine (Zyprexa, Zydis, Relprevv) or pimozide (Orap), respectively. Because of the lack of clarity regarding disease symptoms, diagnosis, and potential causes, the prognosis for this disorder is difficult to estimate.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, "This condition is not currently recognized as a distinct clinical disorder with established diagnostic criteria that are generally accepted by the medical community and many dermatologists consider the condition to be synonymous with delusional parasitosis (DP). To date, most of what is known about the condition is based on isolated case reports or anecdotal accounts. A range of potential infectious (for example, Lyme disease, parasitic) and non-infectious causes has been postulated, but the etiology of this condition remains unknown and there have been no proven effective medical therapies.”
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