I have a weakness for skin diseases, which is why I'm glad I don't live in the tropics, but this one sounds scary:
If diseases like AIDS and bird flu scare you, wait until you hear what's next. Doctors are trying to find out what is causing a bizarre and mysterious infection that's surfaced in South Texas.
Morgellons disease is not yet known to kill, but if you were to get it, you might wish you were dead, as the symptoms are horrible.
"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.
Patients get lesions that never heal.
"Sometimes little black specks that come out of the lesions and sometimes little fibers," said Stephanie Bailey, Morgellons patient.
Patients say that's the worst symptom — strange fibers that pop out of your skin in different colors.
"He'd have attacks and fibers would come out of his hands and fingers, white, black and sometimes red. Very, very painful," said Lisa Wilson, whose son Travis had Morgellon's disease.
While all of this is going on, it feels like bugs are crawling under your skin. So far more than 100 cases of Morgellons disease have been reported in South Texas.
"It really has the makings of a horror movie in every way," Savely said.
... Travis Wilson developed Morgellons just over a year ago. He called his mother in to see a fiber coming out of a lesion.
"It looked like a piece of spaghetti was sticking out about a quarter to an eighth of an inch long and it was sticking out of his chest," Lisa Wilson said. "I tried to pull it as hard as I could out and I could not pull it out."
... "You want to get these things out to relieve the pain, and that's why you pull and then you can see the fibers there, and the tentacles are there, and there are millions of them," Bishop said.
...For more information on Morgellons, visit the research foundation's Web site at http://www.morgellons.org/.