Morgellons Disease Updated March 27, 2013

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Morgellons Disease Updated March 27, 2013

By Kathy White, MSW Corresponding Secretary

Lyme Assoc. of Greater Kansas City (913)438-5963
Morgellons causes painful open sores that last for months or don’t heal. It causes black granules and white, clear, red, blue, black, and green fibers to emerge from the skin. People can remove the fibers from sores or intact skin with tweezers. The fibers are often difficult to pull out. Many of the fibers are hard and feel like splinters. Morgellons also causes stinging and crawling sensations under the skin and intense itching. These symptoms interfere with sleep.

It has been reported in all 50 states, Canada, Europe, and world-wide. The incidence is increasing. You may see someone with the sores someday. You may refer people to our Lyme Association for Morgellons information.

Almost everyone with Morgellons has Lyme disease or another tick-borne disease. Most people with Lyme disease don't have Morgellons. Some Lyme specialists are treating Morgellons. Lyme support groups can help people find a Lyme specialist. Antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease helps most Morgellons patients. Doxycycline and IV Rocephin are often used. Many patients also need antiparasitic and/or antifungal drugs. Some have improved by taking NutraSilver colloidal silver internally. (See stories at www. When starting a treatment, patients typically have a temporary worsening of symptoms (Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction), with a mass exodus of fibers for a few days. Patients who relapse after treatment stops usually benefit from continued treatment.

It is suspected that Morgellons may be transmitted by ticks and/or by contact with soil. Many patients develop the disease after gardening or other contact with soil. It is unknown whether it is contagious. Many patients have family members, close friends, and dogs or cats with the sores and fibers. Perhaps they all had a common exposure. Many families have just one person infected.

New Research: Morgellons Similar to a Cattle Disease

Recent studies have shown that Morgellons is similar to bovine digital dermatitis (BDD), known to farmers as "hairy wart disease” (1). BDD causes sores on the feet of cattle and fibers to grow out of the sores, and weight loss, lameness, and reduced milk production. It spreads rapidly among cattle, perhaps by contamination of soil. Spirochetes (spiral shaped bacteria) are associated with BDD and are believed to be the cause. It is treated by walking the cattle through oxytetracycline foot baths.

Spirochetes are also now suspected of being the cause of Morgellons. A recent study of four Morgellons patients found spirochetes in their skin (2). Lyme disease is caused by spirochetes. It is not yet known whether Morgellons is a less common manifestation of Lyme or whether a different spirochete may be involved. In addition to spirochetes, some patients may also have an unknown fungus, nematodes, or other parasites, as anti-fungal and/or antiparasitic drugs help some patients.

Keratin, a protein found in hair, nails, skin, and the hooves and horns of animals, has been found in the fibers of Morgellons and BDD. Collagen was found in some of the Morgellons fibers. (The BDD cattle disease fibers were not tested for collagen) (2). Researchers have found that, unlike hair, the fibers of both of these diseases fluoresce under UV light (3).

1. Filament formation associated with spirochetal infection: a comparative approach to Morgellons disease. Marianne J Middelveen and Raphael B Stricker. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2011; 4: 167–177. doi: 10.2147/CCID.S26183 Free PubMed article. PMID: 22253541. 2. Characterization and evolution of dermal filaments from patients with Morgellons disease. Middelveen MJ, Mayne PJ, Kahn DG, Stricker RB. Jan. 8, 2013. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2013; 6:1-21. Free PubMed article. PMID: 23326202. DOI: 3. Morgellons Disease: A Chemical and Light Microscopic Study. MJ Middelveen, EH Rasmussen, DG Kahn and RB Stricker. J Clin Exp Dermatol Res 3:140. March 16, 2012. Online journal. Free article. doi:10.4172/2155-9554.1000140
A Morgellons conference is held every April in Austin, TX. The one in 2013 will be April 13 & 14. See www. for conference information, links to the above articles and other recent research, and DVD’s of prior conferences for sale. Also see www.

More About Morgellons Updated 5-1-13

(This page is for medical professionals and Morgellons patients. It's too unpleasant for most people to read.)

People can have the fibers without the sores. If they have fibers, they have Morgellons, because that is the definition. It's a fiber disease. There are no tests for Morgellons. The disease is diagnosed based on patient history and visible fibers. A doctor who does not see any protruding fibers can look for fibers under the skin with an EyeClops BioniCam microscope. Information about it is in the section below. Some people have the sores without the fibers.

Dr. Ginger Savely, DNP, is a nurse practitioner with a PhD in Nursing Practice (not an MD). She has treated over 500 Morgellons patients, more than anyone else in the U.S.A. She said at the 2011 Morgellons conference that fibers can come out of the skin of patients as a single fiber or in clumps, "fuzzballs." The fibers and fuzzballs often emerge from fingertips or from under the fingernails. Fibers can come out through sores, intact skin, the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. Fibers coming out through the eyes feel like sand or splinters in the eyes. Fibers in the eyes cause vision problems. Morgellons can be associated with vision problems even without fibers in the eyes.

Many patients also have black specks emerging from their pores that look like blackheads on the skin. Microscopic examination reveals that these black specks are actually balls of tightly clustered tiny fibers. They look like black sand when patients find them on their bedsheets in the morning.

The fibers are not just under the skin. They can grow inside the body. They have been found in urine, feces, the colon, liver, lungs, and the brain. They may also be affecting other organs. A doctor who has Morgellons had surgery to remove a clump of fibers from his liver and one lung.

Randy Wymore, Ph.D., is a researcher who has been analyzing Morgellons fibers in his lab at Oklahoma State University. The fibers can be stiff and hard, especially the longer ones. The fibers are translucent and glow under UV light.

Most people with Morgellons are ill. In addition to fibers and sores, they have insomnia, fatigue, memory problems, mood swings, and depression which leads some to suicide. Some have joint pain, vision problems, muscle weakness, and other symptoms. Most (about 95%, according to Ginger Savely) have Lyme disease in addition to Morgellons. It can be difficult to determine to what extent Lyme is causing or exacerbating some of these symptoms.

Some patients have a thick, black, oily substance that oozes out of their pores. Some people with Morgellons lose their hair in clumps, and their teeth may turn black, starting at the gum line, and then crumble and fall out. Osteoporosis may develop in the bones.

Finding Morgellons Fibers

Ginger Savely advises doctors to buy an EyeClops BioniCam microscope to examine the skin of Morgellons patients. Other microscopes are too powerful. She says magnification of 30 to 100 is best for viewing Morgellons fibers under the skin, with 60 giving the best view. The BioniCam microscope is sold as a child's toy and is available at and sometimes at Toys R Us. The price is usually slightly over $100. It has a light, and illumination is important for seeing fibers under sores and intact skin. Digital photographs can be taken with this microscope.

To use the microscope, first wipe the skin with an alcohol wipe or dampened non-linty eyeglasses paper, to remove any environmental fibers that may be on the skin. Rubbing intact skin with the paper may bring the fibers closer to the surface for easier viewing. The fibers that show up are usually blue or red but can be other colors. You usually have to place the magnifier on several areas of skin before finding fibers, so this is not a quick examination.

Morgellons is on the increase. If you have never seen a person with it, you may someday. You may notice open sores on the face, neck, and/or hands. Clothes may cover other areas. The Lyme Association of Greater Kansas City provides additional Morgellons information and literature upon request, 913-438-5963, Lymefight

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