Morgellons and the CDC

The CDC Studies Morgellons

After substantial public pressure was applied to the US Congress and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study of Morgellons was conducted by the US government. After four years, the CDC made the following statement:

In January 2008, CDC began an investigation that sought to better understand an unexplained apparent dermopathy, commonly referred to as Morgellons. CDC partnered with Kaiser Permanente (KP) – Northern California, a large group health plan in an area where many possible cases had been reported, and the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, to begin a comprehensive clinical and laboratory study of this condition.

Results … show this condition appears to be uncommon among a population representative of Northern California residents. Skin damage from the sun was the most common skin abnormality found, and no single underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified. Upon thorough analysis, most sores appeared to result from chronic scratching and picking, without an underlying cause. The materials and fibers obtained from skin-biopsy specimens were mostly cellulose, compatible with cotton fibers.

Neuropsychological testing revealed a substantial number of study participants who scored highly in screening tests for one or more co-existing psychiatric or addictive conditions, including depression, somatic concerns (an indicator of preoccupation with health issues), and drug use.

This comprehensive study of an unexplained apparent dermopathy demonstrated no infectious cause and no evidence of an environmental link. There was no indication that it would be helpful to perform additional testing for infectious diseases as a potential cause. Future efforts should focus on helping patients reduce their symptoms through careful attention to treatment of co-existing medical, including psychiatric, conditions that might be contributing to their symptoms. [5]

In summary, the CDC denied the physical basis of Morgellons disease. It confirmed the existing point of view that this disease is a mental illness. They discourage further research into a physical cause and suggested that people just receive psychiatric treatment in addition to being treated for any other known diseases.

Proof that Morgellons Disease is a Physical Illness

“Culture from saliva sample, “Colony with growth extension and branching filaments.” Image source: YouTube – Morgellons actually explained!!

While the CDC was doing their study, other researchers were also working hard to identify a physical cause. In an article published in “BMC Dermatology” (February 2015), researchers provided medical proof that Morgellons disease does in fact have a physical cause. A consortium of physicians and medical researchers from the United States and Australia studied 25 people from the United States and Canada who had Morgellons disease (MD). All patients included in this study met the key diagnostic criterion documented by a healthcare provider. The key criteria were that they had fibers that were visible underneath unbroken skin, or had fibers that were embedded in the skin or projecting from the skin. The subjects in the study were not self-diagnosed. The researchers stated:

Based on culture, histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy and molecular testing, we present corroborating evidence of spirochetal infection in a … group of 25 MD patients. Irrespective of Lyme serological reactivity, all patients in our study group demonstrated histological evidence of epithelial spirochetal infection. … Spirochetes… were detected in 24/25 of our study patients. Skin cultures containing Borrelia spirochetes were obtained from four patients, thus demonstrating that the organisms present in dermatological specimens were viable. Spirochetes identified by PCR as Borrelia burgdorferi were cultured from blood in seven patients and from vaginal secretions in three patients, demonstrating systemic infection.

Our study using multiple detection methods confirms that MD is a true somatic illness associated with Borrelia spirochetes that cause Lyme disease. Further studies are needed to determine the optimal treatment for this spirochete-associated dermopathy. [6]

In summary, the researchers explained that spirochete bacteria are associated with Morgellons. This means that Morgellons is a true physical illness. The spirochetes (bacteria) associated with this illness are suspected as being transmitted to humans through tick bites. Thus, Morgellons is also an infectious disease.

This study found that all Morgellons fibers had the same form and structure. They had a hollow core surrounded by a solid sheath or layer. The fibers did not have any characteristics that were consistent with fungus (such as hyphae), and did not have any characteristics of known parasites (such as microfilariae).

The fibers (fine filaments) which grow from the skin were determined to be made of keratin and collagen. They are believed to be formed from the activity of certain cells in the skin. Researchers indicated that the exact mechanism of fiber formation is not yet understood.

This study stated that there are no known textile fibers that are collagen in composition, nucleated at their base of attachment, or pigmented blue with melanin. Thus the characteristic fibers in Morgellons are clearly distinct from textile fibers. They are not cotton fibers as indicated by the CDC.

These researchers noted that although spirochetes appear to be the primary agents of the skin lesions and fibers, evidence suggests that the disease is associated with a number of other factors. Secondary factors include gender, immune system dysfunction, and the presence of other tickborne coinfections. All these factors appear to play a role in the development of this skin pathology. Most people with Morgellons are middle age and older women, have compromised immune systems, and also have Lyme’s Disease.

The spirochete that is being associated with Morgellons is very similar to the spirochete that is involved with Lyme’s disease. They are both very difficult to treat. Is it possible that they have a common origin?

How Thorough was the CDC Investigation?

One might wonder how CDC scientists misidentified the fibers as being cotton. One might also wonder about the rigor of the testing methods used to identify infectious pathogens. It appears that their testing methods were weak. Maybe they didn’t believe they were going to find an infectious disease, so they didn’t spend a lot of time looking.

The authors of the 2015 study, who isolated the spirochetes that have now been associated with Morgellons, commented on the 2012 CDC study. They stated:

A study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concluded that pathogens were not involved in MD. The search for spirochetal pathogens in that study was limited to Warthin-Starry staining on a small number of tissue samples and commercial two-tiered serological Lyme disease testing as interpreted by the CDC Lyme surveillance criteria. It should be noted that only two of the patients in our study group were positive for Lyme disease based on the CDC Lyme surveillance criteria and yet Borrelia spirochetes were readily detectable in this group of 25 MD patients. [7]

In other words, The CDC methods and criteria for identifying infectious diseases of the type involved with Lyme’s disease and Morgellons disease were so weak that they couldn’t find the truth. Instead, they just repeated the false belief that Morgellons is a mental illness, the skin problems are self-inflicted, and the fibers were textile fibers that just happened to get lodged in the open sores.

Is There More Than a Spirochete Behind Morgellons?

“Tubular fiber (5600x) produces hybrid life forms: Filament with internal self-replicating elements resembling bacteria and behaving like archaea.” Image source: YouTube – Morgellons actually explained!!

If we accept everything in the 2015 study that identified a spirochete that is associated with Morgellons, then have we seen the whole picture? Is there more to understand and discover? Some researchers think so.

There are another set of studies that point to other possible causes for Morgellons. In short, these raise the bar of investigation to include the presence of genetically engineered organisms. If we assume that all organisms must behave like all known organism, then maybe we won’t even see those that have unusual behavior or forms.

Divided Opinions about Morgellons Fill the Internet

If you use an internet search engine to learn more about Morgellons, you will find a large number of webpages. There will be those that continue to describe Morgellons as a mental illness, and there will be those that affirm the fact that Morgellons has a physical cause. Among the second group of websites, there will be several groups. There will be those representing conventional medicine, which explain there is no cure, but some treatments will bring some degree of comfort and some degree of healing. There will be those that will seek to explain the causes of Morgellons. They will look into various theories related to geo-engineering (chemtrails), biological warfare testing, and vaccine use. There also will be those that offer an instant cure for Morgellons through any number of treatments and formulas.

In mentioning these alternative views, I want to bring balance to an often confusing and contradictory set of information. If you spend some time reading these websites as I have done, you will see that there are some that look like they were designed by fantasy writers on drugs. There are also many websites that exist for one purpose, which is to destroy the credibility of certain other people. They are written in the QuackWatch style, which attacks people on a personal level and everything they say. Their goal is to convince you that only a fool would listen to such people. These kinds of websites also attack all forms of alternative medicine, and all websites that speak the truth about the harm caused by vaccines.

Buried among the conspiracy theory websites and the quack buster type websites, are a few websites that are trying to use scientific methods to look more deeply into Morgellons. You can often identify the more important websites by the number of hateful disinformation websites that exist to destroy them.

It is not my goal to endorse any particular geo-political conspiracy theory associated with Morgellons disease. I personally try to filter out the theories and look at the research. In short, some independent researchers believe that Morgellons involves genetically modified organisms. I will not focus on how or why the organisms might have been created, because this involves large amounts of speculation. I am simply asking the same question that these researchers are asking:

“Could a disease that has such an incredibly bizarre set of symptoms be caused by organisms that were modified in a laboratory for certain purposes, and for this reason are unknown to most scientists?”

Are Genetically Modified Organisms Involved with Morgellons?

“Morgellons specimens contain engineered variations of known fungal spores.” Image source: YouTube – Morgellons actually Explained!!

As far as can be determined by reading the 2015 Morgellons study and the CDC Morgellons study, neither set of researchers attempted to culture the Morgellons fibers. Neither group attempted to determine whether the fibers were capable of growing outside of the human body. Did the fibers have qualities that might point to the idea that they are living organisms? Are they genetically modified organisms as some researchers suspect?

Given all the research that is going on in laboratories across the United States to create genetically modified organisms for the food supply, for drug trials, and for other unknown purposes, these researchers are wondering if something has gotten out of control, and those who have Morgellons happen to be especially susceptible to these organisms.

Independent researchers report that they have been able to culture the fibers in laboratory solutions. The fibers grow in length, branch and form structures when in the test tube. They state that the fibers act like living organisms, and are able to grow outside the human body.

These researchers suspect that the fibers are genetically modified organisms of some type, which do not behave like naturally occurring organisms, or have the appearance of naturally occurring organisms. [8, 9]

Conventional Physicians don’t have a Cure for Morgellons

“Atmospheric fallout contains dried red blood cells.” Image source: YouTube – Morgellons actually explained!!

Regardless of what might be causing Morgellons, conventional healthcare providers do not have a cure for Morgellons. They either provide topical treatments with the hope of quieting the skin discomfort, or they provide antipsychotic drugs. Of course there are a few physicians who understand Lyme’s disease, and thus have a desire to understand and treat Morgellons. They can be helpful in some cases, but at present, they are not promising a cure.

If you think you have Morgellons or you know others who think they have this disease, then it is important to know that Morgellons is a real physical illness and that conventional medical treatment, at best, may only help reduce the intensity of symptoms. Some people report major improvements. [10] However, most people end up receiving no help and are emotionally traumatized by encounters with disbelieving and judgmental physicians.

Dr. Gregory V. Smith, MD, FAAP, provides guidance to those who are seeking symptomatic treatment for Morgellons from conventional medical sources. He has Morgellons disease and understands how it feels to have the disease and is willing to explain how his colleagues are falling short on providing care to people with the disease. He authored an article titled, “TIPS ON SURVIVING YOUR DOCTOR APPOINTMENTS — How to avoid the diagnosis of Delusions of Parasitosis or to revisit that diagnosis with your dermatologists.” His article provides detailed counsel for people who have Morgellons or who think they might have this disease.

If you want to follow the guidance of a conventional physician, then definitely read his article. If you don’t, and try to get help from conventional medical sources, then you might end up involuntarily committed to a psychiatric ward for several days while your sanity is being evaluated.

Dr. Smith discourages people from visiting a dermatologist when Morgellons is suspected. He believes that an existing family practitioner or internist is more likely to be open-minded and pay attention to the odd, unusual symptoms that patients report, than will be a dermatologist! He does not recommend starting a new relationship with a physician — stick with healthcare providers who knew you before you developed Morgellons.

See: Appointment Tips for Morgellons Patients

Alternative Treatment for Morgellons

Health Impact News routinely reports on alternative therapies for various diseases. Experience has shown that when illnesses cannot be cured or the symptoms even partially treated by conventional medicine, people will go elsewhere. We see nothing wrong with going beyond conventional medicine to seek curative treatments. Often, this is the safest and most effective healthcare strategy.

Homeopath Cindy Griffin describes the experience she and her colleagues have with Morgellons. She stated:

We’ve had a few clients send us close-up photos of the fibers just under the skin, as well as when they are working their way out of the skin during homeopathy. I agree, it’s not “all in their heads.” But even if it were, the wonderful thing about homeopathy is that we can treat the sensations very effectively as a part of the overall health picture. We’ve seen fibers coming from under the skin, and have heard the reports of crawling, stinging and creeping sensations of the skin – which usually are experienced shortly before the fibers start to become visible, and as they’re leaving.

We’ve had a few of our child clients with autism demonstrate some of these issues.

I can’t speak for other homeopaths, but I would guess that probably they are all seeing some clients with Morgellons — especially since the medical world either denies the existence and reality of the disease, and offers only steroids or other palliative mental illness care. That’s how too many clients find homeopathy — after the medical world has not helped, or even compounded the problem, or says it’s imaginary — then they seek out a homeopath as a last resort! I sure wish I could fix THAT! [11]

Diagnosing Morgellons

“More plaque structures and grooved metallic devices.” Image source: YouTube – Morgellons actually explained!!

Even though conventional physicians warn against self-diagnosing our illnesses, sometimes it is necessary in situations where they fail to properly diagnose illnesses such as Morgellons. If you have some of the symptoms that have been described, then you may want to look for the fibers. The diagnosis of Morgellons is based on the presence of the fibers and lesions that will not heal. The fibers may not always be visible to the naked eye, but can be easily seen with the aid of a hand-held low power microscope. You can buy such a microscope for well under $20 at an electronics store or on the internet.

Even if you can’t obtain immediate relief for your suffering, you will find some level of comfort in knowing that Morgellons is not a mental illness. You don’t have to take antipsychotic drugs in order to be relieved of the symptoms. You don’t have to participate in conventional medical care unless you choose to go that route.

Self-Treatment for Morgellons

Dr. Gregory V. Smith, MD, offers this analysis of self-treatment. He states:

More persistent patients report multiple consultations with a variety of specialists. Many feel the physicians did not take them seriously and did not listen to their story. Many have lost faith in our medical care system and have turned to alternative medical care or self-treatment. Descriptions of their self-treatments are frightening. The treatments have included not just topical application but oral ingestion of insect sprays! Some have been victimized by unscrupulous alternative health care providers. These patients’ stories sparked my interest in Morgellons while also making me ashamed of the treatment given them by members of my profession! [12]

It is important to note that regardless of the physical sensations of movement on and under the skin, scientists have not conclusively identified specific insects or parasites in the lesions of Morgellons patients, though people with the disease have extracted objects from their sores that look like insects or worms. Applying insecticides or other toxic chemicals in the hope of killing unknown pathogens will most likely not kill anything other than the person who uses the toxic substances.

Anecdotal reports from people with Morgellons indicate that various remedies can be helpful with managing symptoms. Some people claim resolution of the disease through the use of alfalfa, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or oatmeal. Various soaps and lotions have helped people find some relief from the skin discomfort, though not everyone is helped by the same products or treatments.

Morgellons is Not Just an Internet Disease – It is Real

Some scientists actually speculate that the availability of websites with photos of Morgellons fibers and lesions is leading people to develop the disease. They have an itch, they see the photos, and then they believe they’ve got it.

Dr. Smith comments about what Dermatologists call “folie a deux.” This is when a family member or associate of a patient develops the symptoms of a disease after observing it in another person. The accusation has been made that it is the internet that has created and spread Morgellons disease. Dr. Smith answers this allegation:

This supposedly explains the fact that several family members may also have the same symptoms. Personally, that only makes sense for people who know each other well and spend a lot of time together. It does not make sense when unrelated patients, in large numbers, who are scattered geographically all over the United States and in at least 15 other countries, report almost exactly the same symptoms and observations. It also does not make sense that very young children—2 or 3 years old—-are delusional when they have these symptoms and say they want the bugs off their skin! [13]

About the Author

John P. Thomas is a health writer for Health Impact News. He holds a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a Master of Science in Public Health (M.S.P.H.) from the School of Public Health, Department of Health Administration, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


[1] “Morgellons Message,” Dr. Gregory V. Smith, MD, FAAP, Retrieved 8/14/2015.

[2] “Clinical, Epidemiologic, Histopathologic and Molecular Features of an Unexplained Dermopathy,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2/25/2015, Retrieved 8/13/2015.

[3] “Appointment Tips for Morgellons Patients,” Gregory V. Smith, MD, Charles E. Holman Foundation, November 1, 2006, Retrieved 8/13/2015.

[4] Freudenmann RW1, Lepping P.; “Delusional infestation,” Clin Microbiol Rev. October 2009, PMID: 19822895.

[5] “Clinical, Epidemiologic, Histopathologic and Molecular Features of an Unexplained Dermopathy,” US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2/25/2015, Retrieved 8/13/2015.

[6] Middelveen MJ1, Bandoski C2, Burke J3, Sapi E4, Filush KR5, Wang Y6, Franco A7, Mayne PJ8, Stricker RB9. “Exploring the association between Morgellons Disease and Lyme disease: identification of Borrelia burgdorferi in Morgellons disease patients,” BMC Dermatol, February 12 2015, PMID: 25879673. Author Affiliations: International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, MD, USA, Department of Biology and Environmental Science, University of New Haven, West Haven, CT, USA, Australian Biologics, Sydney, NSW, Australia. Complete article available at:

[7] IBID.

[8] Carnicom Institute Research Papers – Sorted by Date.

[9] “Morgellons actually Explained!!” Sofia Smallstorm,

[10] “Morgellons Patient Stories,” Charles E Holman Foundation.

[11] Cindy Griffin, DSH-P, DIHom, FBIH, BCIH, DCNT, Homeopathy Centers of America, Houston Homeopathy Method™, Comments from an E-mail 8/10/2015.

[12] “Morgellons Message,” Dr. Gregory V. Smith, MD, FAAP, Charles E Holman Foundation website, Retrieved 8/14/2015.

[13] IBID.

Published on August 18, 2015 Tags: Lymes Disease,

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