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Morgellons disease: a filamentous borrelial dermatitis

Authors Middelveen MJ, Stricker RB

Received 6 July 2016

Accepted for publication 15 September 2016

Published 14 October 2016 Volume 2016:9 Pages 349—354

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJGM.S116608

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser


Video abstract presented by Raphael B Stricker

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Marianne J Middelveen, Raphael B Stricker

International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society, Bethesda, MD, USA

Abstract: Morgellons disease (MD) is a dermopathy characterized by multicolored filaments that lie under, are embedded in, or project from skin. Although MD was initially considered to be a delusional disorder, recent studies have demonstrated that the dermopathy is associated with tickborne infection, that the filaments are composed of keratin and collagen, and that they result from proliferation of keratinocytes and fibroblasts in epithelial tissue. Culture, histopathological and molecular evidence of spirochetal infection associated with MD has been presented in several published studies using a variety of techniques. Spirochetes genetically identified as Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto predominate as the infective agent in most of the Morgellons skin specimens studied so far. Other species of Borrelia including Borrelia garinii, Borrelia miyamotoi, and Borrelia hermsii have also been detected in skin specimens taken from MD patients. The optimal treatment for MD remains to be determined.

Keywords: Morgellons disease, dermatitis, Lyme disease, Borrelia burgdorferi, spirochetes

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