Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Morgellons Disease has been described as a delusional belief, yet patients struggle with a complex multisystem illness with little or no help from their doctors.

A recent research paper now reveals the scientific evidence that shows Morgellons Disease is an infectious disease.

Exploring the association between Morgellons disease and Lyme disease: identification of Borrelia burgdorferi in Morgellons disease patients  

Marianne J Middelveen1, Cheryl Bandoski2, Jennie Burke3, Eva Sapi2, Katherine R Filush2, Yean Wang3, Agustin Franco3, Peter J Mayne1 and Raphael B Stricker14*

link here 



Morgellons disease (MD) is a complex skin disorder characterized by ulcerating lesions that have protruding or embedded filaments. Many clinicians refer to this condition as delusional parasitosis or delusional infestation and consider the filaments to be introduced textile fibers. In contrast, recent studies indicate that MD is a true somatic illness associated with tickborne infection, that the filaments are keratin and collagen in composition and that they result from proliferation and activation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in the skin. Previously, spirochetes have been detected in the dermatological specimens from four MD patients, thus providing evidence of an infectious process.

Methods & Results

Based on culture, histology, immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy and molecular testing, we present corroborating evidence of spirochetal infection in a larger group of 25 MD patients. Irrespective of Lyme serological reactivity, all patients in our study group demonstrated histological evidence of epithelial spirochetal infection. Strength of evidence based on other testing varied among patients. Spirochetes identified as Borrelia strains by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and/or in-situ DNA hybridization 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 asBorrelia burgdorferi were cultured from blood in seven patients and from vaginal secretions in three patients, demonstrating systemic infection. Based on these observations, a clinical classification system for MD is proposed.


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.

The research paper is discussed on PR Web release here  

There is very much of interest in this important paper for those with Morgellons but also in respect of Lyme Disease.
Just a few observations from me from a Lyme Disease perspective-
1. International collaboration of authors and also acknowledging supportive discussions. ( Thanks to The Charles E. Holman Morgellons Disease Foundation for funding - Grant money from governments for Lyme disease have produced little over the past 30+ years to help patients, according to the late Willy Burgdorfer here )
2. Technology used to identify without question the organisms of Borrelia present rather than the hit or miss that many patients are left with - antibody tests.
3. This study shows the false negative antibody tests in some patients.
4. This study highlights persistent infection despite many patients having prior treatment of antibiotics.
5. Systemic infections as indicated by finding presence of Borrelia in blood, tissue and vaginal fluid in various patients.
6. Interesting to read the support from Dr Alan MacDonald who recently published on his method of identifying Borrelia using FISH and Beacon Probes here The comments on this article are worth noting.
An earlier post on my blog about Dr MacDonald's work using FISH and Beacon Probes  here 

Thursday, 5 February 2015


BEAUTY AND THE WEE TICK - Photo taken in Killarney National Park Ireland.

An interesting article published today in Science Daily should be heeded by our Health Authorities in UK and Ireland, taking tick borne diseases more seriously may help to reduce our rising healthcare costs.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg school of public health looked at cases of Lyme Disease.

'New research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health suggests that a prolonged illness associated with the disease is more widespread and serious in some patients than previously understood. With an estimated 240,000 to 440,000 new cases of the tick-borne illness diagnosed every year, the researchers found that Lyme disease costs the U.S. health care system between $712 million and $1.3 billion a year -- or nearly $3,000 per patient on average -- in return doctor visits and testing, likely to investigate the cause of some patients' lingering symptoms of fatigue, musculoskeletal pain and memory problems. These visits come after patients have finished their original course of antibiotics.'

'The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates 10 to 20 percent of those treated for Lyme disease with the recommended two-to-four week course of antibiotics continue to have symptoms. But, in the new study, the researchers found that more than 63 percent of those treated for Lyme disease had at least one PTLDS-related diagnosis -- a rate 36 percentage points higher than those who did not have Lyme disease.'

'The study's lead author John Aucott, MD, an assistant professor of rheumatology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, says it does no good to keep debating the existence of long-term problems related to Lyme disease while people are suffering a debilitating illness. And he says that increasing awareness of potential complications is crucial to avoid misdiagnosis and unnecessary medical testing.
"These patients are lost," he says. "No one really knows what to do with them. It's a challenge, but the first thing we need to do is recognize this is a problem. There's not a magic pill. These patients already got the magic pill and it didn't work."
"Health care costs, utilization and patterns of care following Lyme disease" was written by Emily Adrion, MSc; John Aucott, MD; Klaus Lemke, PhD; and Jonathan P. Weiner, DrPH.
This research was funded by a grant from the Lyme Disease Research Foundation.'

This study is based on patients diagnosed early in their illness and treated, but here in the UK and Ireland there is evidence through patient charity groups, that patients are rarely diagnosed and treated at that early easier to treat stage, thus increasing the numbers falling into a debilitating illness.

All too often Public  Health England quotes the numbers of positive serological cases currently about 1000 a year in England and Wales but fail to recognise that even CDC accept now that the true figures are likely to be 10x that of positive serological cases.

You do the maths but I make that £20,007,000 a year for England and Wales.

At a recent Parliamentary meeting on Lyme disease - our PHE 'expert' claimed that being an island we had less cases, but this fails to consider two important factors - one that ticks are carried by birds Intercontinentally and that Borrelia infection (Lyme Disease) has been around for 15 million years.

Lack of research and lack of a reliable test may have more to do with the lack of cases found in the UK and Ireland.

Link to Parliamentary meeting here