What is known about Morgellons

Vagen / Munich - A week ago, Monika B. from Munich fell 500 meters from a hot air balloon. An act of desperation because she could no longer endure the pain caused by her illness "Morgellons".

The fiber disease, recently recognized as such, is on the medical list of unexplained diseases. Symptoms include itching, fibers growing out of the skin, and a rash. In her farewell letter, Monika B. asked for help for other Morgellons patients: "My death should not be in vain."

Stunned, Claus Rust from Vagen (Feldkirchen-Westerham municipality) keeps staring at Monika B.'s last letter. In the past few months, the long-time family friend had organized her funeral, papers and supplies for her father down to the last detail. “She wanted to have everything sorted out if she were no longer able to do so because of the illness,” said the 73-year-old. Little did he know that she was planning her death.

Monika B. was at risk of suicide due to her medical history, but in the past few months it seemed as if she wanted to enjoy life again despite “many weak moments.” After an almost never-ending story of suffering in which the 55-year-old from Munich Rust was tormented by pain.

The two met seven years ago on a mountain hike with friends in Elmau. A close friendship developed between the Rust couple and Monika B. At that time, the trained bank clerk still led a normal life.

In 2008 she started suffering. At first she felt permanently uncomfortable, had severe, almost unbearable pain in her limbs. Antibiotics and a cure in Bad Birnbach did not bring any relief. Only a few months later - Monika B. met her Vagen friends - she noticed that an indefinable fiber was growing between her ring and little finger. “She then ran from doctor to doctor in panic, not knowing what to do,” said Rust.

The 73-year-old remembers that doctors suspected an untreated Lyme disease as the initial source. In the Borreliose-Centrum Augsburg there were first theories that Monika B. could be ill with "Morgellons". However, Monika B. refused treatment for the diagnosed Lyme disease. Because: She feared that this would have given bacteria, fungi or parasites a good breeding ground for “Morgellons”. These infectious pathogens could have been the cause.

Even experts are faced with a rattle at “Morgellons”. "It only seems to manifest itself in a multitude of infections of various kinds," explained Dr. Carsten Nicolaus, medical partner in the Borreliose-Centrum Augsburg opposite our newspaper. According to him, patients with this fiber disease often have the problem that doctors seek the source in the psychiatric field. Since patients often speak of tingling or movement under the skin in the early stages, but tests do not provide any results, delusions of parasites or delusions of dermatoses are often diagnosed. Only when the typical appearances with cracked areas of skin and fibers growing out of them emerge can one assume “Morgellons”. These fibers are inorganic and can grow out of the skin in shades of blue, red, black and white.

"Even the American FBI tested these fibers, but couldn't identify the material," says Dr. Nicolaus. In the United States, 16,000 to 18,000 Morgellons sufferers have been registered in recent years. The symptoms mainly occur on the coast (Texas, Florida).

"It is similar in Germany," said Dr. Nicolaus. He has already had a few patients from Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Holland. Problem for the doctor: Many doctors have never heard of "Morgellons". Only in the USA is research currently being carried out at several universities such as Oklahoma. First positive step: Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention (comparable to the Robert Koch Institute in Germany) have recognized the fiber disease.

But when it comes to “Morgellons”, science is still in the baby shoes. "Patients need stamina, which is often not possible in view of the pain," says Dr. Nicolaus. Until the cause and an effective remedy for the fiber disease are found, the only thing left for the medical community is to fight the individual symptoms. This is done with antibiotics, antifungal agents, antivirals and also with worming agents.

Monika B. couldn't wait that long. Countless hospital stays and months of psychotherapy in the Munich-East Clinic brought no relief for her. For them the worst, according to Rust: "That nobody knew the disease, let alone took it seriously."

The 73-year-old is currently preparing the cremation for August 25th and is now devoting himself to the last will of the 55-year-olds: "Morgellons are known to some, so that other sick people receive hope and do not despair as Monika B."

Silvia Mischi /