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mystery disease: Is huge scare even real?
include persistent lesions, fibers popping out of skin, brain fog
Posted: May 18, 2006
lesion of 3-year-old boy
A nonprofit foundation is working to drum up awareness of a
mystery disease that's been described as something out of a horror
but which most mainstream doctors refuse to admit exists.
Morgellons Research Foundation hopes to inform lawmakers and
public-health officials of the disease to try to work toward an
WorldNetDaily reported, Morgellons disease, a mysterious
seemingly similar to one documented 300 years ago, is spreading
South Texas. While the disease has not been known to kill and
appear to be contagious, it's the horrible symptoms that have some
feverishly to find an effective treatment.
The South Texas outbreak's proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border
a time when the issues of illegal immigration, border security and
possible amnesty for over 12 million illegal aliens are being
According to the foundation's website, symptoms include skin
that do not heal, a crawling sensation on the surface of the skin,
fatigue, cognitive difficulties and, perhaps the most disturbing,
popping out of the skin.
lesion of 3-year-old boy
States the site: "[The fibers] are generally described by
white, but clinicians also report seeing blue, green, red, and
fibers, that fluoresce when viewed under ultraviolet light (Wood's
Travis Wilson, a Morgellons sufferer for over a year, once
mother in to see a fiber coming out of a lesion in his chest.
"It looked like a piece of spaghetti was sticking out about a
to an eighth of an inch long and it was sticking out of his
Wilson told the San Antonio Express-News. "I tried to pull it as
hard as I
could out and I could not pull it out.
"He'd have attacks and fibers would come out of his hands and
white, black and sometimes red. Very, very painful," said Wilson.
A variety of other symptoms range from neurological and
gastrointestinal problems to changes in skin pigment. Some people
also reported black, tarry beads of sweat.
While it's impossible to know how many Americans - who appear
concentrated in California, Texas and Florida - suffer with the
the foundation says thousands with one or more symptom have
Even so, most of the medical community don't see the disease as
with some doctors telling patients it's all in their head.
"They (doctors) told me I was just doing this to myself, that I
nuts. So basically I stopped going to doctors because I was afraid
were going to lock me up," said sufferer Stephanie Bailey.
A big question medical professionals are wrestling with is how
come down with the disease.
"It is difficult to say whether Morgellons is contagious,"
FAQ page on the foundation's site. "Many of our group have family
who exhibit no symptoms whatever. On the other hand, many entire
have reported becoming infected at or near the same time. At this
juncture, it remains unclear if these households with multiple
members reflect contagion, due to human-to-human transmission, or
type of mutual exposure."
The name for the disease comes from a condition involving
emerging from the skin of children, which was documented in France
1600s. While experts say it is doubtful the modern-day disease is
to the 17th century occurrences, the name was chosen, says the
Foundation, to provide "a consistent label when addressing
physicians and health departments."
Mary Leitao is executive director of the Morgellons Foundation.
became involved several years ago when her 2-year-old son began
"The goal of the foundation is to find a cure for Morgellons
Leitao told WND. "The other goal is to determine the cause."
Leitao explained that Randy Wymore, Ph.D., of Oklahoma State
is working on getting research work started at the school.
"His goal is to see patients and to investigate it medically
scientifically," Leitao said.
One obstacle, she explained, is that there is not a diagnostic
Morgellons disease. Even so, Leitao stressed that the skin lesions
fibers appears to be a symptom that links nearly all victims.
"If a physician is able to view these skin lesions under
they may see these fibers," Leitao said.
Since the disease is hard to pin down, treatments vary widely.
Said Leitao: "Some physicians are treating it with pretty
antibiotics. Others are using other meds, including pain
can be a very uncomfortable disease for people."
Leitao said officials at the Centers for Disease Control are
there's a situation going on here" so are reticent to take action.
"I don't think the CDC has heard from enough physicians,
physicians don't recognize the illness," she said. "They just
illness is psychosomatic."
Leitao stressed she is committed to finding a cure because of
devastation she has seen in the lives of victims. Many no longer
because of the brain fog that often accompanies the disorder.
"They can't mentally focus on tasks," she said. "They're
fatigued and severely depressed - in addition to the skin
Indeed, Travis Wilson committed suicide three weeks ago.
"I knew he was going to kill himself, and there was nothing I
to stop him," his mother said.
Dr. Adelaide Hebert of the University of Texas Health Science
Houston is unconvinced Morgellons is an actual medical disorder.
"I think if we look at what is truly evidence-based medicine,
been proven based on scientific fact we know we don't have a means
substantiate [Morgellons]," Hebert told KVUE-TV.
Hebert believes Morgellons exists only in the patient's mind.
"Many of these patients do have delusion of parasitosis,"
quoted as saying. "It is actually not uncommon to have patients
and describe the sensation that something is crawling on their
Ginger Savely is a nurse practitioner in Austin, Texas, who has
documented over 100 incidents of Morgellons.
"[Sufferers] can't get anybody to help them in the medical
It's just a nightmare, a living nightmare. I can't imagine any
disease," she told the TV station.
Some doctors who do recognize the disorder as a medical disease
the Medical Advisory Board of the Morgellons Research Foundation.
Says Gregory V. Smith, M.D., a member of the board: "This
much more common than anyone suspects. ... During the course of my
activity, I have seen numerous children ... a minimum of three
daily in my office with suspicious skin lesions."
Adds another board member, William T. Harvey, M.D.: "The
phenomenon is real. It is also clearly devastating,
infectious. I have observed the herald lesions microscopically
central fibers in dozens of patients."
Leitao remains hopeful for a cure - not only for her own son
"It's a bizarre disease; I will admit to that," Leitao said.
a real disease and the people need real help."
Ron Strom is a news