A mystery skin disease that causes fibers and other materials to emerge from the skin has no clear cause, but is not contagious, federal health officials reported this week.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the results of their four-year study of the strange condition -- called Morgellons – which agency scientists said strikes thousands of people in the United States and other countries.
Researchers who conducted the study, in conjunction with Kaiser Permanente of Northern California, tracked 115 people with the condition. They interviewed the patients, tested their blood and urine and biopsied skin samples.
They found: “Most materials collected from participants' skin were composed of cellulose, likely of cotton origin.” They also concluded: “No common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified.”
The CDC and Kaiser Permanente initiated the study in 2008, after health officials received hundreds of calls and e-mails about an odd, fiber-sprouting skin disease.
But the scientists, writing in the journal Public Library of Science ONE, said they found no underlying cause, parasites or bacterial infections that could explain the condition.