The term Morgellons was coined in 1674 by Sir Thomas Browne in his monograph entitled “De vermiculis capillaribus infantium.”1 The affected child had critical break outs of hair-like extrusions from the back which upon occurring; relieved the child from “coughs and convulsions”. Since the first description, the term Morgellons disease has faded into obscurity. It was not until 2002 when the mother of a child with a similar skin condition resurrected this term and began the Morgellons Research Foundation.
Morgellons disease is characterised by individuals describing filaments of various colours growing from the skin as well as biting or crawling sensations under the skin. It is also known as Morgellons syndrome.
For many decades, Morgellons disease has been thought to be related to delusional parasitosis, a psychiatric disorder where patients mistakenly believe they are infested with a skin parasite. However, investigators at the Morgellons Research Foundation have attempted to distinguish it from delusional parasitosis.3 They conclude that more information is needed to formally define this disease.
The most characteristic symptom of individuals with Morgellons disease is a sensation of filaments, fibres or spheres extruding from the skin generating uncomfortable lesions. Affected individuals may present to the doctor with a collection of these “fibres” for examination or may actively pick at these lesions with tweezers.
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