What IS it?
May 12, 2006 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Morgellon's disease A new disease is surfacing in Southeast Texas exhibiting what could possibly be the grossest symptom profile ever besides botfly, and doctors are stumped as to causes and treatments. Over 100 sufferers so far have complained of black, tarry sweat, non-healing lesions, a feeling like bugs are crawling under their skin, and worst of all, "fibers" that poke out of the wounds. Happy Friday!
posted by Sidthecat (84 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Huh. Interesting. This appears to be the only paper in the academic literature about the disorder. Savelly et al. note that it is associated with Lyme disease and responds to antibacterial therapy, therefore some sort of infectious pathogen is suspected.
posted by docgonzo at 7:46 AM on May 12, 2006

I've read about this before, and I wish I hadn't. Because sure as hell after I read it, my skin started to itch as if there were bugs crawling under it. I was convinced I had this for about a week. Now I'll probably "have it" for another week.

Thanks, though.
posted by dios at 7:47 AM on May 12, 2006

(Better link.)
posted by docgonzo at 7:48 AM on May 12, 2006

I am not clicking those links.
posted by smackfu at 7:56 AM on May 12, 2006

I feel itchy.
posted by Floach at 8:00 AM on May 12, 2006

It's too late for me, but save yourself! Don't click the image link! GACK! Interesting, though, in a "makes my skin crawl and now I'll spend the next few hours/days/weeks flashing back to this" sort of way.
posted by veggieboy at 8:01 AM on May 12, 2006

Rash Friday
posted by emelenjr at 8:07 AM on May 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

Sure is wonderful how some patients report doctors telling them they were somehow doing this to themselves. "I don't have a clue what this is, so it must be your fault."
posted by mediareport at 8:11 AM on May 12, 2006

Way to early for this. I'm gonna go look at kittens in hats or something.
posted by hypocritical ross at 8:15 AM on May 12, 2006

Nobody said evolution would be pretty, folks.
posted by gigawhat? at 8:18 AM on May 12, 2006 [2 favorites]

mediareport, that seems to be par for the course. When they can't explaine it, it becomes something like a Conversion disorder.

There was this AskMe thread about a magic trick....
posted by edgeways at 8:20 AM on May 12, 2006

I feel itchy. Oh so itchy
I feel itchy, and bitchy and rash!
I feel itchy, and there's fibers growing out.
of my ass, lalalalala-la la la!
posted by eriko at 8:24 AM on May 12, 2006

Sounds like they went through the teleporter with a fly.
posted by Lord_Pall at 8:27 AM on May 12, 2006

Who'd they send eriko through the teleporter with? Or has he always been like that?
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:31 AM on May 12, 2006

Whaddya know, the Texans have their own version of Penis Panic.

Also... Common Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Delusions - false beliefs strongly held.
Somatic Delusions are false beliefs about your body - for example that a terrible physical illness exists or that something foreign is inside or passing through your body.
Hallucinations - Hallucinations can take a number of different forms.
Tactile (feeling things that other people don't feel or something touching your skin that isn't there.)

posted by Bletch at 8:31 AM on May 12, 2006

goddamnit that's nasty.

probably them aliens...
posted by jaded at 8:34 AM on May 12, 2006

The basis of diagnostic medicine is making a list of likely culprits and eliminating the life threatening first, the most common second. At a certain point a conversion disorder (or facticious disorder, etc) is going to be the most likely diagnosis, much more likely than a very rare condition that is not sufficiently described in the literature. Doctors do not have a test that will eliminate the combined mental/physical disorders, so these diagnoses will always be on the list. It should be appropriate to discuss this possibility with a patient, but I will assume that many doctors are not skilled in having this type of conversation. If a patient comes away feeling blamed, the doctor has not done his/her job.
posted by Corpus Callosum at 8:37 AM on May 12, 2006

Um, if this is real, why doesn't the CDC have a report page on it?
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:52 AM on May 12, 2006

This is a psychosomatic illness - the condition has been described for a long time, not just in Texas, and seems to come up as a means of explaining certain kinds of neurotic skin ailments. I had a case last year of "Morgellon's" that cleared up just fine once the patient was sufficiently assisted with psychiatric help.
posted by docpops at 8:53 AM on May 12, 2006

Oh God, I never should have clicked on that botfly link. I spent a month in that town, and was bitten by more mosquitos there than I could possibly count.
posted by jesourie at 8:57 AM on May 12, 2006

posted by ninjew at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2006

So can you explain to me how something psychosomatic can produce fibers?
posted by konolia at 8:59 AM on May 12, 2006

I don't get the whole 'doctor refuses to believe it' thing. I mean, there's physical evidence for this one - the lesions with fibres and nodules in them. It's not like chronic fatigue syndrome, where patients report being exhausted all the time but all systems seem to check out okay.
posted by Zinger at 9:00 AM on May 12, 2006

Oh, and not to mention one of the above links was that of fibers taken from a three year old boy?
posted by konolia at 9:00 AM on May 12, 2006

The studies that I've seen haven't shown the 'fibers' to be reproducible. That said, when you pick at the skin constantly, it starts to secrete a ton more keratin as a protective measure and this, in fact, was what my patient was able to do at one of our visits.

But yeah, it's more fun to believe that doctors are just jaded absolutists who refuse to entertain the possibility that people who sweat tar and exude fibers from their skin represent an untapped wealth of heretofore undiagnosed pathology.
posted by docpops at 9:14 AM on May 12, 2006

I don't know about Texas having a version of Penis Panic, but Bletch seems to have a problem with Reading Comprehension. Most mental problems don't involve legions and unexplained fibres growing from those legions.
posted by substrate at 9:16 AM on May 12, 2006

But yeah, it's more fun to believe that doctors are just jaded absolutists who refuse to entertain the possibility that people who sweat tar and exude fibers from their skin represent an untapped wealth of heretofore undiagnosed pathology.

Yeah. Because doctors are never wrong.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 9:18 AM on May 12, 2006

Also, modern medicine has discovered everything that could possibly go wrong!
posted by ereshkigal45 at 9:20 AM on May 12, 2006

docpops, I have a place on my pinkie finger that I have picked at for over twenty-three years. (It has the feeling of something being stuck in it, which at this point might be imaginary.)

I have never ONCE had a fiber grow out of it.
posted by konolia at 9:21 AM on May 12, 2006


Oh my God, it's the FLY!

Quick, get the shotgun and turn off the teleporter.
posted by eatdonuts at 9:39 AM on May 12, 2006

Picking causes fibers, but only if your crazy?
posted by parallax7d at 9:43 AM on May 12, 2006

Hold on, hold on.

On the one hand, yeah, doctors need to consider the possibility that this has a biological cause.

On the other hand, shouldn't doctors also consider the posibility that it has psychological roots? We've got cases of hysterical pregnancy and stigmata and all sorts of weird psychosomatic phenomena — why not psychosomatic freaky-ass fiber growth too?

(Devil's advocate: if a schizophrenic comes into your office complaining of bugs under his skin, is it somehow disrespectful to give him psychiatric care instead of a prescription for anti-parasitic medication?)
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:49 AM on May 12, 2006

The degree of skin injury in neurotic excoriation is massive. I have had nurses and assistants who literally were made ill at the site of these patient's skin injury. Imagine whole body acne in various stages of healing. In a patient who continues to insist they are being tormented by [mold/allergens/various foods/Lyme disease/etc.] whose skin clears up within two weeks of a low-dose antipsychotic.

Konolia, I hear you. I have tons of patients with bad eczema who don't produce these fibers either.

I think it best to retreat at this point. Just realize that this isn't anything new in medicine, and cases of neurotic dermatitis are incredibly challenging - far weirder than Morgellon's any day.
posted by docpops at 9:56 AM on May 12, 2006

A lot of the people in this thread are the reason that others get rich selling stuff like religion and colloidal silver.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:02 AM on May 12, 2006

This is so strange to read about, all of the 'research' seems to be done by hillbillies in their backyard labs and posted to the internet on free web sites. Sample description of a microscopic image detailing one of the 'bugs'.

"this is a crisalis dissected you can see the organisum in the center of it"
"this is another egg or whatever from a different leasion"
"This is what it looks like at 10x immagin how smallit looks with the naked eye"
"ok now were down at the end of the thorax of the smashed adult can you see the full white body of the baby coming out of the the adults thorax?"

I am skeptical. Also, why is there only one photo of an actual patient with symptoms and hundreds of photos detailing the fibers - which could be anything. The blurry insect photos look an awful lot like common springtails which do occasionally infest houses and such, but are harmless (well, have been so far anyway).
posted by milovoo at 10:11 AM on May 12, 2006

A lot of the people in this thread are the reason that others get rich selling stuff like religion and colloidal silver.

Mmmmnooooo, that's a separate issue entirely.

It's just that for every hypochondriac out there who complains of problems where none exist, there's also a medical professional who pats someone on the wrist and says "there, there, it's all in your head" when there's something genuinely wrong.

And given the potential for serious consequences if there is something wrong, some health care providers should be a bit less quick to dismiss things out of hand.

The article makes it sound (and I grant you, the article is heavy on the sensaltionalism) as though people complaining of these symptoms are packed out of the doc's office and told not to be so silly. Even if the symptoms are psychosomatic - and the mind can do very strange things to the body - then something needs to be done to treat the root cause of that.
posted by Zinger at 10:14 AM on May 12, 2006

oh, it gets better ...

"symptoms: Itchy skin,developing sores, Tired all the time and with drawn from social activities.
cause: At first I thought it was the drugs ( Crystal Meth ). Which I have been battling to quit for 2 years now. ..."

um, no, I'm sure it's a disease new to science, not the meth.
posted by milovoo at 10:19 AM on May 12, 2006

Just dug up one article that generally supports docpops' perspective on the issue.
posted by furiousthought at 10:23 AM on May 12, 2006

BTW why do half the people with this also have Lyme Disease?

Oh, and maybe it'll turn out that seroquel is a miracle cure for eczema.

Scuse me for being snippy, but medical history is replete with diseases that were considered to be neurotic in origin. Anybody remember how women with polycystic ovarian disorder used to/ in some cases still are treated?

And just because YOUR patient needed antipsychotics, does it mean that every other case of this is the same? Could be apples and oranges.
posted by konolia at 10:25 AM on May 12, 2006

Also, keep in mind that testing for Lyme disease is one of the toughest things out there as far as getting a result that actually indicates a real infection. There are very few labs that can do the test properly, but lots that will be happy to run an assay for a few hundred dollars that inevitably turns up a possible positive result.
posted by docpops at 10:27 AM on May 12, 2006


anything's possible. Let's agree to check back in twenty years.
posted by docpops at 10:28 AM on May 12, 2006

Damn, I'm willing to believe that this is a psychosomatic disorder, but I still want to know what the hell the fibers are. Anyone?
posted by setanor at 10:29 AM on May 12, 2006

Belly button fluff. It probably sticks to the wounds.
posted by edd at 10:35 AM on May 12, 2006

It's the Mi-Go people. They're experimenting on us.
posted by moonbiter at 10:39 AM on May 12, 2006

Thanks a bunch. Now I'm itching! : (
posted by winks007 at 10:58 AM on May 12, 2006

Most mental problems don't involve legions and unexplained fibres growing from those legions.

Would that be the old Roman Legion, or our modern-day legions where our military veterans go for cheap beer, steaks, and camaraderie?
posted by five fresh fish at 11:03 AM on May 12, 2006

Would this be Legionnaires' disease then?
posted by eriko at 11:08 AM on May 12, 2006

There are extraordinary parasite infestations of all kinds. When I first returned from India in 1976 there were very few doctors in New York City who knew either how to diagnose parasites or treat them. Dr. Kevin Cahill is probably one of the world's experts in parasites and their treatment.
Dr. Kevin M. Cahill
(212) 879-2607
850 5th Ave
New York, NY 10021
He also founded The Center for International Health and Cooperation, has written a number of books, including those about tropical diseases in temperate climates.

I know nothing about Morgellon's, except what I read based on this thread. A brief Google shows enough info to cause me to think it may be an actual parasite. From the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology.
posted by nickyskye at 11:11 AM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

"These people will have like beads of sweat but it's black, black and tarry," said Ginger Savely, a nurse practioner in Austin who treats a majority of these patients.

Looks like peak oil won't be a problem after all.

/goes to convert his car to Soylent Gasoline.
posted by b1tr0t at 11:14 AM on May 12, 2006

I've had fiber in my wounds before. I am certain they were from the clothes I was wearing being incorporated into the scab.

That being said, isn't it conceivable that these fibers could be some sort of mycelia from a fungal infection?
posted by 517 at 11:20 AM on May 12, 2006

They look like hairs.

Is that... too obvious?
posted by blacklite at 12:05 PM on May 12, 2006

(Insert cliche about horses and zebras)
posted by blacklite at 12:06 PM on May 12, 2006

I think this is God's curse on Texas for giving us Dubya.
Pharoah never had it so good.
posted by nofundy at 12:33 PM on May 12, 2006

Or fibres from clothing/carpets...
posted by Artw at 12:54 PM on May 12, 2006

It's the Mi-Go people. They're experimenting on us.

aka: Fungi from Yuggoth? I tip my hat to you, sir.
posted by dreamsign at 1:37 PM on May 12, 2006

Oh yeah? I've eaten the damn things!
posted by spock at 2:06 PM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

This detail was bizarre enough that I created a MeFi account just to pass it along. From the "Symptoms" page:

The unknown fibers associated with skin lesions can be described as coenocytic (aseptate), smooth-walled, branching, filamentous objects. The fibers have been analyzed by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) and have tentatively been identified as cellulose.

posted by Robson at 2:09 PM on May 12, 2006

i'm just waiting to see what pat robertson says they are being punished for...
posted by troybob at 2:12 PM on May 12, 2006

Could this be related to dermoid cysts? Dermoids can grow under the skin and many contain keratin, hair and teeth. When I saw the pictures that was my first thought.

Of course, if the docs don't think so I'm probably way off base.
posted by LeeJay at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2006

Robson writes "The fibers have been analyzed by FTIR (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) and have tentatively been identified as cellulose."

I suppose it's worth pointing out at this point that cotton is comprised of nearly pure cellulose, in a fiber morphology. Cotton is a common clothing material, so this is consistent with Artw's theory.
posted by mr_roboto at 2:15 PM on May 12, 2006

On the other hand, shouldn't doctors also consider the posibility that it has psychological roots?

No, because your brain can not cause fibers to grow out of your body.

Why is there even a debate about this? I don't understand.

There is a paper on pubmed, and people seem to respond to antibiotics.
posted by delmoi at 3:09 PM on May 12, 2006

Having been a nervous excoriator for years and at times semipsychotic due to bipolarity, I nonetheless cannot substantiate the claim that neurosis -or- psychosis causes fibrous growths from repeatedly picked skin. Scabs, scars, pus and serum and blood. Not fibers.
posted by po at 3:11 PM on May 12, 2006

delmoi writes "No, because your brain can not cause fibers to grow out of your body."

I think the working theory is that environmental fibers can become incorporated in an open wound.
posted by mr_roboto at 3:20 PM on May 12, 2006

Being in Austin, I've heard plenty about this in the last couple days.
I'm not a medical professional, so I can't even begin to asses what this might be. I leave that to more seasoned folks, such as conspiracy theorists.

My favorite, in that "what the hell are you on man" sort of way is this one.

He gets props for tying in chem trails. Seriously.

Not to mention the "new bugs found deep in the Antartic with their homeworld of Jupiter's moon, Europa."

I can kinda see why the mental health of some of the patients is being questioned.

Regardless, with avian flu, terrorists, and now synthetic under the skin burrowing chemtrail creatures, we're doomed.
posted by fnord at 3:26 PM on May 12, 2006


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.

posted by EarBucket at 3:28 PM on May 12, 2006

Says delmoi:There is a paper on pubmed, and people seem to respond to antibiotics.

I wouldn't put much weight on a single paper, and was that response to antibiotics controlled for the placebo effect?

While I'm posting, like 517 I've also found fibres in wounds before, which is why I originally suggested it was from such a source when I mentioned belly button fluff. Just inspecting my hands I can see half a dozen fibres on them right now, and I've no wounds on them for them to get stuck in (and I've not got crawly skin for that matter either).
posted by edd at 3:59 PM on May 12, 2006

so I can't even begin to asses what this might be

Not to pick on you at all. Just taking advantage of the opportunity to note that the quality of spelling on MeFi has just frickin' plummeted this past few weeks.

What's unnerving me about it is that I, too, am losing my spelling skills. That bugs me.

Y'all may now resume to fashion plans to commoditize this human cellulose fiber stuff. I'm dyin' to see the first sweater made of it!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:16 PM on May 12, 2006

No, because your brain can not cause fibers to grow out of your body.

But it can cause you to do weird things with textiles when nobody's around. It seems like this Morgellon's disease website is a bit short on information. Nothing they actually said precluded the possibility that these are crazy people who inflict this on themselves (ok ok except the part about the fibres not being textiles...but they didn't elaborate on that to my satisfaction).

As for the correlation with Lyme's, it could be that crazy people are "inspired" by their bouts with Lymes. Note that the site says a great many of these people are diagnosed obsessive-compulsives. I can imagine that certain extreme cases with that unfortunate condition might have a tendency to pick at and aggravate wounds, and then go on to embellish their symptoms.

I don't know if I trust this Morgellon's site, anyway. The publications are a bit short on information. Does anyone else notice how the infection patterns could play into the immigration debate? Now I'm the conspiracy theorist...but I've spent time on right wing blogs where supposedly disease-ridden Mexicans have been labeled 'biological terrorists' (that's a whole other topic).

On the other hand, it could really be something. I imagine that if a serious study was conducted, it shouldn't be too hard to get to the bottom of it. I'm no scientist, but I bet it wouldn't be too hard to figure out whether or not the fibres were "home grown". Do people continue to produce the more exotic symptoms when kept in the hospital for many days at a time (like sweating tar and growing fibres)? I just don't see enough information, and it seems like it shouldn't be too hard to come by.
posted by Edgewise at 7:39 PM on May 12, 2006

Just taking advantage of the opportunity to note that the quality of spelling on MeFi has just frickin' plummeted this past few weeks.... What's unnerving me about it is that I, too, am losing my spelling skills. That bugs me.

It's braaaaaain fibers. braaaaain.
posted by furiousthought at 8:08 PM on May 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Interesting links. I have no idea what the disease might be; whether physical or mental. Ans as implied in a few posts above, why should it matter?

Shouldn't a real attempt at diagnosis be made regardless?

I'm not saying that it isn't. And I'm deffinately not saying that some of these cases are simply rejecting the considered opinion of the doctor(s) in favour of their own back-alley diagnosis. It's just that I've gone through this sort of thing on two occaisions, and though in both cases whatever I had eventually went away, I still have no answers regarding what I had - only suspcions (and that really bothers me).

Here's a bit of my (recent) story as it may help clarify my perspective:

In February of this year, I came down with a cough. I didn't think much of it. Edmonton is very dry in the winter and everyone was coughing - just a fact of life here.

Another guy at the office was coughing terribly. He had fits that would last for minutes and would get so bad his gag reflex would have to kick in and make him vomit to clear his airways. He has no history of asthma and the docs were sure it wasn't pneumonia, so he was diagnosed with bronchitis and given antibiotics.

About a week later I was coughing badly too. So I went to the doctor. Bronchitis. Received an asskicking cough syrup and antibiotics.

Five days later my coughing fits had become so bad that I too was vomitting just to breathe freely. At one point I couldn't breathe for nearly 45 seconds - and I don't mean "could only gasp a bit", I mean full-on zero air intake ability. I had no air in my lungs and I couldn't inhale - thank goodness for the gag reflex! Whatever...

That was at 3am, and I'd had enough, so it was off to the ER for me. I had to wait 8 hours to finally see a doc (Candian medical system... a whole other rant). Got xrays, no pneumonia - lungs totally clear. I've never had an asthma attack in my life. They took some blood and told me they'd call if they found anything. Then they prescribed two asthma puffers to try and help me deal with the symptoms. At least the doc flat out said he simply didn't know what it could be and didn't try to insult my intelligence by pooh poohing the problem or calling me a loon.

A week later I was still coughing like mad. I went back to see the doc that prescribed the cough meds and the antibiotics. She was very concerned but still puzzled. So one more round of antibiotics (really strong stuff or something) and yet another type steroid-based asthma puffer.

I gave after finishing the antibiotic regimine. Nothing was working. The cough wasn't going anywhere and it had been over three weeks. The other guys at work was still coughing and it had been over six weeks for him. Then I found out that his son was also suffering from this nonsense - for over two months!

So here's where I finally get to the point of this excretion long winded story...

2 minutes searching at the Capital Health Authority site, to check for possible regional warnings. Here's that sites first hit for "vomitting cough". 2 more minutes on Google produced this. I did this bit of research in the ER while waiting 8 hours to play "stump the physician".

So... did I have whooping cough? I have no clue. I hate to self diagnose. I didn't even suggest it to the doc when I saw him as selff diagnosis is usually dismissed out-of-hand or attributed to hypochondria (I know this from my other experience).

However, I would love to know exactly what I had. Just like these folks. Unfortunately when answers aren't forthcoming, and when you're not even taken seriously, one is driven to try to solve it for themselves. Some aren't very rational and go way off the deep end in their quest to prove the establishment wrong.

But this could be avoided if the patients were taken seriously and handled seriously. Not just dismissed as head-cases and left to their own devices. That sort of treatment only results in cock-eyed accounts where fact and fiction become inseperable and only provide the media with that rich melange of horseshit that they can use to create fear and anxiety in order to sell more "news".

/ done
// sorry bout the length
posted by C.Batt at 9:02 PM on May 12, 2006

Here's my theory:

1) Bush declares ware on Iraq
2) Many of our soldiers go to Iraq, and drink the water
3) Because of a lack of local immunities, they bring back certain bacteria
4) These soldiers are carriers of the bacteria in their bodies, and in their personal effects.
5) Because of certain chemicals and compounds that are present in fast food and other processed types of food, these bacteria are affected/mutated somehow and begin to cause disease symptoms, including shooting out cellulose fibers.


It's a bunch of meth addicts scratching, pinching twitching, feeling bugs in their skin, rubbing their resulting wounds with shirts, and other cotton materials. And because of the structure of cotton/cellulose, it gets stuck in the wound, and the wound begins to heal a bit, causing it to get stuck in there. Add to that the various effects of whatever drugs they're on, and you have a great recipe for a fake, irrelevant condition that only affects people with pre-existing mental issues.


It's a real condition that has somehow appeared out of nowhere, with very little proof or information regarding despite _widespread_ encounters with medical professionals.

But, those might just be kind of crazy ideas.
posted by cellphone at 9:16 PM on May 12, 2006

ware = war
posted by cellphone at 9:21 PM on May 12, 2006

Tetsuo's disease would have been more apropos as a name for this condition.
posted by ryoshu at 10:02 AM on May 13, 2006 [1 favorite]

war = wire
posted by spincycle at 10:55 AM on May 13, 2006

Now it's on Boing Boing, with no indication that it might just be a bunch of people with a bad case of the crazies.
posted by Artw at 11:56 AM on May 13, 2006

Tetsuo's disease would have been more apropos as a name for this condition.<----Most creative answer yet (Aside from Mi-Go).
posted by kaiseki at 1:53 PM on May 13, 2006

These fibers exhibit a high degree of autofluorescence and are not textile derived.

I'm assuming that means what I think it means?
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:31 AM on May 14, 2006


Or human-jellyfish hybrids?
posted by b1tr0t at 12:42 AM on May 14, 2006

I'm gonna go squeeze some ducks anxiously.

If they hadn't said this has been happening for 300 years, I'd think it had something to do with our Fateful Harvest. First reported in 1997, it is legal for industry to recycle toxic waste as fertilizer in the USA.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 12:53 AM on May 14, 2006

posted by NortonDC at 9:23 AM on May 21, 2006

Forget Scanner, Shinya Tsukamoto made a better movie about this sort of thing: Tetsuo.
posted by meehawl at 1:45 PM on May 21, 2006

C.Batt: You almost certainly had whooping cough. I had it a few years back, and my experience was eerily similar to yours. All the hallmarks are there-- plus people who get it usually can recognize someone they know who had the same choking cough. AND it's typically difficult to diagnose, because when you're not having a spell you look healthy. Definitely one of the least pleasant sicknesses I've had, although it was v. satisfying to get a diagnosis that made sense, and to find out that all of my oddball symptoms (vomiting from coughing, complete inability to breathe in during the spells, coughing from drinking soda, overeating or swimming) were utterly typical of the whooping cough. Anyway, derail, but I thought I'd chime in anyway. Whoop!
posted by bonheur at 4:30 PM on May 21, 2006

Hey, lookit:

Nasty disease--or is it delusion?

The disease sounds like a nightmare. In fact, one Web site claims Morgellons was "invented" recently to help promote a summer horror movie.

Think they're talking about us?
posted by veronica sawyer at 11:22 AM on June 6, 2006

No doubt. SF Gate are apparently too cheap to even give credit where it's due. Not that that will help save them from becoming as outdated as Dr. Murganset's All-Healing Tummy Rub ("now with extract of coca!").
posted by five fresh fish at 7:58 PM on June 6, 2006

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