CDC Releases Results Of Morgellons Disease Investigation

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Five years ago, CBS 11 News began investigating a bizarre medical condition known as Morgellons Disease. Those who claim to have it describe unusual symptoms like strange fibers poking through their skin. But, the question all along has been is it real, or is it just in the patient’s mind?

In 2008, CBS 11 was the first to report that the Centers For Disease Control would be launching its own investigation to determine if Morgellons was in fact a new and real disease. (Click here to read the CDC Morgellons press release.) Now, the agency is making its findings public in this report. But, it may not be what patients hoped to hear.

“I feel the itchy and the creepy crawly,” said Cindy Casey when we first met her in 2007. “It’s been extremely disfiguring… every part of my body, hands, legs, arms, and back.”

Casey has been dealing with effects of a mysterious illness for more than a decade.

“I don’t escape it for one moment of the day,” she said. “I’m constantly aware of it.”

She’s one of thousands around the country who claim to have the condition known as Morgellons Disease. Symptoms include lesions, and the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin. But, the most unusual of all the symptoms are tiny fibers that patients say literally grow out of their skin.

“It’s miserable,” Casey said. “It feels like splinters, like you have splinters coming out all over.”

Casey and many other patients have been turned away from numerous doctors who tell them it’s all in their head.

“He basically told me I was delusional,” said another patient. “Delusional Parasitosis is the common diagnosis.”

In January 2008, patients saw hope when the CDC announced it was launching an investigation to determine if Morgellons was indeed a newfound infectious disease.

“We believe that the suffering many people associate with this condition is best addressed by a careful objective scientific analysis,” Dr. Michele Pearson, with the CDC, explained during a 2008 conference call to announce the study.

Four years later, that study is complete, and CBS 11 obtained a copy. Inside, the CDC concludes that “no…infectious source was identified.”

Click here to read the entire CDC Morgellons study

As for the fibers found on the patients in the study, the CDC says those fibers were “consistent with skin fragments or materials such as cotton.”

But, the CDC stops short of saying the condition is all in the patient’s mind. The study says they were “unable to conclude whether this unexplained dermopathy represents a new condition, or a wider recognition of an existing condition such as delusional infestation.”

Doctors Rhonda Casey and Randy Wymore – who research Morgellons at Oklahoma State University and believe it’s a real condition – say while the study doesn’t offer much hope for those suffering, it did not exactly shut the door all together.

“Morgellons is real,” said Dr. Casey. “We know it’s real. What they decided is these patients don’t have this thing we’ve looked at.”

“If this was a delusional disorder and their study proved that, they would’ve said it,” said Dr. Wymore.

We also spoke to Cindy Casey – the North Texas patient – about the findings. She said she’s thankful the CDC made some kind of effort, but doesn’t believe it was a fair study.

Click here to read Cindy’s full response to the CDC findings

While the CDC’s investigation came to a conclusion about the fibers, it did not determine what was causing the lesions on the patient’s bodies. CBS 11 asked if the CDC was planning any further studies, but a spokesperson said further CDC involvement was unnecessary.

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  • Kathy Carter

    I don’t understand how they can say it is a disillusion condition. Am I having it too? Because I can see those irritations and lesions. Are they trying to say that these people actually THINK these sores onto their bodies? How can they say it’s all in their mind when I clearly see it on their legs???????

    • Karl

      The delusion causes them to itch and pick at their skin. It is a common symptom of delusional parasitosis. If you look at pictures from patients with delusional parasitosis they look identical because they are most likely the same disease. When the scabs dry they pick up fibers of clothing and the “Morgellons” sufferers claim these are the mysterious fibers that “parasites” create under their skin. This is the danger of the internet. No one wants to be told they need psychological treatment so they dismiss their doctor and search for a new diagnosis. Morgellons has become an internet meme for mostly delusional parasitosis sufferers and it is fueled by sensational news reports that give it an patina of authenticity. The government has spent too much money on it in my opinion as they have not found a parasite ever (parasites as multicelled organisms are relatively easy to detect as I understand) and all fibers and objects claimed to be from parasites are cotton, nylon, or other environmentally based objects.

      • Olivia Bean

        Karl, you are an ass.

    • Rod

      Karl – Please ask the CDC what a dumb ass you are because something that is delusional is not there – including parasites.

      • Karl

        Rod- delusional parasitosis usually has a physical element to it. They may have an itch from a condition but they imagine the parasite. A lot of drug users for instance do this. If you’ve ever seen pictures of meth addicts you can see lots of scarring from this. The condition is not always drug related, it can be a real physical ailment. I’m really not sure why you responded the way you did because I agree, the parasites are not there.

  • Lisa Lee

    This just saddens me too end, my sister has been suffering nearly 8 years now with this I have done so much research that it led me to believe that for her particular case it was somehow contracted through the soil in here pond. Prior to the outbreak of sores on her body she explained and described the very same things far before Morgellons was even a thought in the internets head. Her dog who was a young healthy lab first began when she drank from the pond water, within months she got a strange rash that was incurable- the vet’s could not help her nor figure out what is was, he health deteriated and within 3 years she was lame in the legs and was visablly suffering. My sister made the choice to put her to sleep so she would not continue to suffer, at this point in time my sister a year earlier prior to her dogs death began with a larger ammount of sores I have pics to proof and she Is not a meth user or mentally ill. She is a normal person who has suffered so greatly since the beginning of this nightmare that my heart has been broken for her and that is why I continue to try to the best of my knowledge to find a way to make sense of this. It is now 2012, my sister is so debilitated that she is covered in lesions that are now all infected, that is the problem also at hand the secondary infections that come with the disease. She is mentally foggy now all the time, her speech is that of a person who has had a stroke, her teeth all all falling out on their own, her hair is falling out. She has lost most of her hearing. She is continually confused and tries the best she can to stay clear and focused but that is the later progression of this condition- the sores are half the battle, its the neurological distruction that poses the greatest threat of all. The quality of life is zero now, she stays home all the time since people look at her and treat her like she is a contaminated monster. She has a heart of gold, and leans on her faith is Christ that somehow he will make sense of all this and cure her. Like most people suffering the medical field offers no help, rather just makes a mock of you! I have went to numerous medical appointments with her to be a mentor and advocate for her since she can barely face a thing now. The shame that comes with this disease, making you not even recognizable to your self or your children is the greatest loss. I believe my sister will lose her life to this and its a damn shame that many others in the next 5-10 years will be at the same stage my sister is at. The end basically. And why? Because she was an outdoors girl that had her hands in the dirt too much?? The awnsers will never be told, but I will stand tall to tell her story when she can not. There is more then meets the eyes, this is not in peoples heads or they would never have spend $600,000 researching it in the first place and that is the bottom line, I believe the findings were too scary- and in time the truth will be told.

    • John Fryer

      Hi Lisa

      I have been researching health issues and make an offer to study your case if you wish.

      To be blunt after 8 years on this issue I still know nothing but mainly because people refuse to discuss the problem.

      As with lots of research there are lots of noise by those who havent got the complaint or who want to put people off the scent.

      The CDC describe very nicely DRUG ABUSE which Karl has got wrongly hounded for.

      If your sister took drugs it makes the case difficult to move forward on but the dog seems to make it genuine unless he ate the left overs.

      Even if it were drugs this needs to be tracked down as to which ones it was but I am interested inly if it represents a threat to normal person.

      But the CDC gives figures for drug and solvent abuse which indicates possibly they all got involved in one or the other.

  • Deborah

    People who are treated for Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections via antibiotics often have this condition clear up. James Schaller in Florida is a Lyme doctor who consults on this condition. God bless.

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  • Rod

    Karl – I throw up every morning and it’s not delusional. I was hospitalized for gallbladder surgery and after four days waiting for surgery my wife came to visit and said that my hospital room door was covered in warning signs and cross bones. My surgery was cancelled and I was discharged without explanation. About a week later sores began to appear on my body. I don’t know if this is morgellons or not but the symptoms are the same – absent the fibers. I am not a drug addict but no doctor will help me. This is why I am so bitter. Advice?

  • Eldest Brother

    The Morgellons enigma mystifies orthodox science. Dis-eases and dis-comforts of the body which orthodox medical science cannot answer are called illnesses “that exist only in patients’ minds”.
    However, one should be aware science cannot tell us where our Awareness goes when we sleep, or why some people get certain diseases and others don’t. Medical science is good for bullet wounds and placing casts on broken bones.
    Science knows almost nothing about the mind-brain-body connection. Thus, any disease they cannot understand, they say is “in the patient’s mind”. Yet science hasn’t studied the mind, they have only studied the brain. Their lack of True Knowledge means they can only treat dis-eases or dis-comforts of the body with chemical pills.
    As the secret underground Desposyni Church ’s last Eldest Brother, I have access to 10,000 years of records that contain the mysteries of the brain and DNA, as well as the history of our universe and solar system.
    Our 1,981 year long vow of silence has ended. We can now say these ancient records contain a series of healing techniques that can cure all human body diseases. The same healing techniques that have been curing cancer people of cancer can cure Morgellons.
    The Desposyni Church was founded 1,982 years ago by the 6th Chosen One of our 8,000 year Lions of Jud-Ah lineage of healers and teachers. JBP, or the one people call Jesus, was also the 8th Chosen One of our 10,000 year old lineage.

  • Rod

    In other words the CDC does not know the answer – and they won’t admit that they don’t know.

  • TJP

    From what I have read here it does sound like the same exact conditions many meth and drug users suffer from.
    The mind is very powerful and can cause medical conditions/problems, yet most control their conscious mind and it’s usually their sub-conscious mind that is not as controllable that leads to problems anyway. Since the dawn of time man has died from minor things and survived major things he should not have survived merely due to their state of mind. Most people who live long lives also have different state of minds from those who don’t. And many have actually worried themselves to the point of getting sick consciously or sub-consciously.
    Just because someone suffers from this does not mean they are using drugs though. When we find fish are having problems reproducing because of medications people take making back into the water supply, it’s only logical the same kind of contamination occurs from drug labs or people disposing of things where it will affect others. Muster gas was dumped in the ocean after the war has recently been found leaking and all the locations such harmful things where disposed of in the past where not all recorded. Japan helped us realize just how much fallout from above ground nuclear testing has put things throughout our environment with some of it having far more than centuries of shelf life. So not all exposure to things have to come first hand, it can affect us via second hand which the CDC does not want you to know about because it is a little true of what you don’t know won’t hurt you (your mind does have a harder time over coming something it does know about).
    Lisa I know how you feel, my brother died from a super bug he got after a medical procedure. Since my only guess is she is getting second hand exposure to some contaminate that is producing the same effects that drug users get, I’d suggest she spend a year away from where she currently lives to see if that helps. Pollution is wide spread though so it might not, but due to how bad she has gotten I suggest a long period away.
    Rod they will cancel surgery and treat an area as contaminated if you have a staph infection. Along with staph infections come such sores also. I can’t imagine a doctor not wanting to help unless you have a non-curable type. Yet since it can spread to others I’m sure if you had that the CDC would come to monitor and help you live as safely as possible in order not to spread it. If the hospital refuses to tell you why they released you without surgery, contact the CDC to get them investigated. Don’t take I don’t know for an answer, contact everyone and hound them until they do get you the answer.

  • Cindy Casey


    I must assume by reading your posts that you are not aware of the peer reviewed publications on Morgellons Disease. Please understand that bugs having nothing to do with the etiology of Morgellons. The filaments have been photographed in multiple Morgellons patients stemming from our own basal layer epithelial cells. This is the same phenonomenon that is found in dairy cattle. The bovine disease is called “Bovine Digital Dermatitis”. In cattle it causes lameness and decreased milk production as well as multiple skin lesions in which filaments are formed from the basal epithelial layer. This has caused major concerns to dairy farmers and veterinary researchers worldwide since the 1990’s. In cattle, this condition is known to be caused from persistent spirochetal infection. A quick search on PubMed might lead you to some enlightening facts. Now multiple Morgellons patient samples have been photographed by researchers revealing that in humans as well, the filaments are being produced by the basal epithelial cells and are visible stemming from keratinocytes as well as folliculocytes. I hate to bear this disturbing news to you …but your fixed and unshakable belief that this condition is in any way delusional, is your own delusion.

    I don’t think the phenomenon in drug abuses has been fully explored but I would think it possible that they too could have the occurrence of abnormal expressions of keratin …that is if it were ever adequately studied.

    Cindy Casey, RN
    The Charles E. Holman Foundation

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