History of Morgellons disease: from delusion to definition

Marianne J Middelveen, Melissa C Fesler, Raphael B Stricker
  • Clinical Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, February 2018, Dove Medical Press
  • DOI: 10.2147/ccid.s152343

History of Morgellons Disease

What is it about?

Morgellons disease (MD) is a skin condition characterized by the presence of multicolored filaments that lie under, are embedded in, or project from skin. Because individuals afflicted with the disease may have crawling or stinging sensations and sometimes believe they have an insect or parasite infestation, most medical practitioners consider MD to be a purely delusional disorder. We review the clinical studies supporting the hypothesis that MD is exclusively delusional in origin and show that these studies have considerable methodological flaws. In contrast, rigorous experimental investigations show that this skin affliction results from a physiological response to the presence of an infectious agent. Recent studies from that point of view show an association between MD and spirochetal infection in humans, cattle, and dogs. These investigations have determined that the cutaneous filaments are composed of the cellular proteins keratin and collagen and result from overproduction of these filaments in response to spirochetal infection, including the agent of Lyme disease. Further studies of the genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment of MD are warranted.

Why is it important?

Morgellons disease is a controversial illness, and the article provides a thorough evidence-based review of this perplexing topic.


Raphael Stricker
Union Square Medical Associates

In this publication, evidence-based science triumphs over eminence-based misconceptions of Morgellons disease.

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The following have contributed to this page: Marianne Middelveen and Raphael Stricker