10 03 2010

Imagine trying to fall asleep while feeling tiny bugs scurrying under your skin, or looking down at your arm to see fibers of various colors poking through your pores.Then imagine going to the doctor for help and being told you need to see a psychiatrist.

For years, people have come forward complaining about a mysterious infection. They say that they’ve infected others, and they want to know what it is and how to stop it.

What’s going on?  Some call it Morgellons disease.

After years of anecdotal evidence, the CDC, along with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Division of Research, recently completed a study to find out who is affected, what their symptoms are, what causes the infection, what those “threads” or fibers are, and how many people are infected.

According to the CDC:

Persons who suffer from this condition report a range of coetaneous symptoms including crawling, biting and stinging sensations; granules, threads or black speck-like materials on or beneath the skin; and/or skin lesions (e.g., rashes or sores) and some sufferers also report systemic manifestations such as fatigue, mental confusion, short term memory loss, joint pain, and changes in vision.

The CDC should be issuing their report on this mysterious condition any day now.

In the meantime, people like New York resident Mary continue to struggle:

I wouldn’t wish this disease on my worst enemy. For three years I have dealt with a condition that has made my life very difficult. My skin has lesions that never go away including on my face, back, arms and legs. I have trouble sleeping at night and during the work day trying not to touch my skin to dig out what’s moving underneath. There is a constant sense of crawling and biting all over my body and things coming out of my skin. I initially thought it was a reaction to being bit by various bugs, but spring came and went many times over and have had my apartment exterminated numerous times and I still have the problem. I sought the advice of dermatologist after dermatologist with numerous diagnoses. These ranged from scabies, to arthropod reaction, hives, hypersensitive skin and that I had a psychological condition.

Imagine trying to find answers and being treated like I am a delusional nut as opposed to an educated person who worked in healthcare for over fifteen years. I have lost all respect for the dermatology profession. I went to other specialists too, infectious disease, allergists who all told me to go back to see a dermatologist. One doctor began to refuse to do a biopsy because “my patients don’t tell me what to do”. I told him my gynecologist, cardiologist and internal medicine all told me to come and get a four punch biopsy. I am still suffering and with few answers.

We need the study results and we need to provide relief to the thousands of affected people.