Article from the Sunday Paper:
CDC announces Morgellons investigation in early 2008
By Stephanie Ramage
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will begin an investigation of the mysterious condition known as Morgellons disease in February or March, according to a CDC spokesman.
The CDC investigation, prompted in part by thousands of letters sent to members of Congress by people who believe they have Morgellons, will be done in partnership with Kaiser Permanente.
Dave Daigle, spokesman for the CDC, says Kaiser Permanente was chosen in November to work on the investigation because of its huge patient database. The initial part of the investigation, all of which will be conducted in California, will require the KP team to comb through records to find patients who have complained of symptoms associated with Morgellons. The second part of the investigation will consist of asking those patients to fill out a questionnaire and allow KP and CDC staffers, in addition to other investigators from the American Dermatology Association and the National Armed Forces Pathology Institute, to take blood and tissue samples.
California was chosen for the investigation because there have been more reports of Morgellons in that state than any other. Florida and Texas account for the second and third highest incidence of what sufferers believe to be Morgellons. California, Florida and Texas are also the nation’s most populous states.
At present, KP is working on a set of protocols that outline the strategy that will be used in the investigation. The protocols will be submitted to the CDC’s Institutional Review Board by January.
Daigle acknowledges that there has been a great deal of frustration among those who claim to have the illness, which the CDC presently categorizes as “unexplained dermopathy.” Since the CDC originally said it would look into the condition in June 2006, those who claim to have it have complained that the CDC has been “dragging its feet” on the promised investigation.
“But this is not like Ebola,” says Daigle, “where you can send a team parachuting into the jungle to take care of it.” That’s because Morgellons is widely dismissed as delusional parasitosis within the medical community. “Delusional parasitosis” is the term used to describe the condition of believing one has bugs crawling on or under one’s skin. It’s considered a symptom of mental illness. And so the CDC faces the unusual challenge of finding out if a condition reported by an estimated 10,000 people (according to the Morgellons Research Foundation), but usually dismissed by medical professionals as a delusion, actually exists.
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