Tampa, Florida — It's called Morgellons Syndrome: patients who describe a feeling that bugs or stripes are crawling out of their skin. The itching sensation can be so severe, they scratch until they leave deep scars on their arms, their legs, even scratching off part of their nose.
In 30 years of practice, Dr. Neil Fenske, Chair of the Department of Dermatology at USF Health says he's seen a number of people—all ages—come through looking for help.
- Dr. Neil Fenske, Dept. Chair, School of Dermatology/USF-Health
- “They come in with a bag full of parts of their skin dug out, it's sent to the lab and it's nothing more than lint and pieces of skin. On the other hand there may be something that's causing the sensation and it's not a worm or a bug or some fiber, but something making them to itch to begin with. ”
Dr. Fenske often refers patients to psychiatrists to see if the problem stems from a mental condition. Clinical physician James Schuller is on the board for the Morgellons Research Foundation and he believes there may be 10-20 different causes for Morgellons.
- Dr. James Schuller, Morgellons Research Foundation
- “So it might be like early HIV or Lyme or mold issues that people haven't been educated about whether they have it or not. ”
The CDC will soon have researchers gather information around the country to find out if it is a disease or psychiatric ailment.
De Anna Sheffield, Tampa Bay's 10 News