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Morgellons diseaseJoe Segen2016-12-26T11:10:19+00:00
Definition A condition first described in 2002 by Mary Leitao, a stay-at-home mom and lab technician, in her son, which she characterised as a sensation of crawling, biting, and stinging (formication), unusual fibres in the skin, and persistent rashes or sores. Morgellons disease has elements of Munchausen by proxy, and is widely regarded as an internet disease*. Studies by the CDC and the Mayo Clinic concluded that it is a type of delusional parasitosis.
*Internet disorders are not regarded as real diseases. They are self-diagnosed by non-physicians with too little medical sophistication and too much time on their hands, and are not unlike the so-called medical student syndrome. Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who studied the Morgellons phenomenon, concluded that the Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and Morgellons is a social disease transmitted over the Internet. Leitao chose the name Morgellons because she felt it was the same disease described by Sir Thomas Browne in 1690 in the so-called morgellons, children who lived in the former French province of Languedoc and suffered from “endemial distemper.” Her husband, an internist and real doctor, must cringe every time he hears somebody yakking about this “disease”.
Synonyms Cutaneous dysaesthesia, Morgellons, Morgellons syndrome