Doctors Debate Credibility Of Morgellons Disease
Patients Say Growth Causes Them To Itch Uncontrollably
A growing problem in Texas has some victims feeling like something is living under their skin.
Patients Try To Convince Doctors That Skin Disease Exists
But, is it a real problem or just their imagination?
That is the fight that is playing out between some doctors, nurses and government health agencies. Kaye Koeberle, a Morgellons disease patient from Houston, told Local 2 that an unexplainable growth caused her to itch uncontrollably before the growth felt like it had crawled out of her skin.
"When I would get out of the shower, it would itch so bad I could hardly stand it. One day, I was in front of the mirror and I could see these white things, five of them, just sticking out of my shoulder," Koeberle said.
Nurse practitioner Ginger Savely, who studies the disease, said she has seen dozens of cases in her office."I think this is like a horrible science fiction movie. First off, all you have is this horrible and scary situation going on in your own body that's different than anything you've ever heard of, so it feels like you've been inhabited by aliens, and then to add insult to injury, no one will believe you," Savely said.
Some patients said they have even tried to perform their own research to show doctors what is living beneath their skin.
"I took (a sample) and put it in a petri dish. Those filaments would grow and get longer and longer, and curl around the petri dish," Koeberle said.
Even though many doctors do not recognize Morgellons as a disease, Savely thinks the sheer numbers of people reporting symptoms add to its credibility. California is the only state with more reported cases than Texas.
"I can't believe the people from all over, all walks of life, would describe something the very same way if it were a delusion," Savely said.
And, if it isn't bad enough that there is no treatment, trying to get the research completed to prove the creepy crawlers really exist has proven to be just as difficult. There is no funding available to research it because government health agencies do not recognize it as a disease.
"I always feel that people should keep an open mind and I think there are scientific experiments, what we call evidence-based medicine, that can prove or disprove that an organism is causing this," University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston dermatologist Dr. Stephen Tucker said.
Doctors said they have noticed that many patients who complain about Morgellons symptoms have also been treated or are undergoing treatment for Lyme disease, which suppresses the immune system. The doctors said when the immune system is corrected, the crawling feelings under the patient's skin is often corrected too.