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The Mystery of Morgellons Disease

Infection or Delusion?


Morgellons disease is a mysterious skin disorder that was first described more than 300 years ago. The disease is characterized by fiber-like strands extruding from the skin in conjunction with various dermatologic and neuropsychiatric symptoms. In this respect, Morgellons disease resembles and may be confused with delusional parasitosis. The association with Lyme disease and the apparent response to antibacterial therapy suggest that Morgellons disease may be linked to an undefined infectious process. Further clinical and molecular research is needed to unlock the mystery of Morgellons disease.

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This work was supported in part by the Morgellons Research Foundation (McMurray, PA, USA) and the International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS; Bethesda, MD, USA). The authors thank Drs J. Kurt Frederick, Alan MacDonald, Steven Phillips, Joseph Burrascano, Kenneth Liegner, Richard Horowitz, and Ann Corson for helpful discussion; Charles Holman for providing figures used in the article; and Diane Gay for patient care. The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest related to the contents of this article.

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Correspondence to Raphael B. Stricker.

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Savely, V.R., Leitao, M.M. & Stricker, R.B. The Mystery of Morgellons Disease. Am J Clin Dermatol 7, 1–5 (2006).

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