The suffering that many people associate with this condition is best addressed by a careful, objective scientific analysis. Considering the complexity of this condition, we believe that a measured and thorough approach offers the best chance for finding useful answers.
To learn more about this condition, CDC is conducting an epidemiologic investigation. CDC has awarded a contract to Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Division of Research to assist CDC in the investigation of this condition. The study is being designed and led by CDC.
The primary goals of the investigation are to help us learn more about who may be affected with this condition, the symptoms they experience, and to generate hypotheses about factors that may contribute to it. The investigation will involve: determining the clinical and epidemiologic features of this condition; assessing the histopathology of skin biopsies from affected patients; characterizing foreign material such as fibers or threads obtained from persons with the condition; describing the geographic distribution of this condition; and estimating rates of illness among the study population.