Prevalent Skin Disease Morgellons May Be Fiction, Feds Say

Bay Area doctors who treat the disease are outraged after a report said it may be psychological.

By Chris Roberts
|  Saturday, Jan 28, 2012  |  Updated 8:37 AM PDT
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Gosh, that's itchy. But is it all in your mind?

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The itchy, slow-healing skin affliction called morgellons may be more than a feeling of bugs crawling over one's skin, leading to lesions.

It could be entirely in the mind, according to a report issued this week by the federal Centers for Disease Control, a statement which has led to outrage from Bay Area doctors who treat sufferers of the mysterious disease, according to reports.

The two-year study conducted by the feds examined 115 sufferers of the affliction, mostly from the Bay Area. Nationwide, morgellons sufferers come mostly from California, Florida, and Texas.

The symptoms usually begin with a sensation of itchy, crawling skin, often compared to insects, according to reports. Then, it's skin rashes and sores, along with fibers, threads, cysts or other protrusions emerging from the affected areas. Severe fatigue, inability to concentrate, joint pain, vision changes and behavioral problems can also occur, according to reports.

That sounds pretty bad. But the Centers for Disease Control says this suffering may not be "a unified physical ailment, and may be caused by psychological problems."

This angered a Bay Area dermatologist who studies the disease.

"It's definitely not delusional," said Dr. Raphael Stricker.

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