Document Type


Publication Date


MeSH Terms

Morgellons Disease

Subject: LCSH

Spirochaetosis, Spirochetes


Biology | Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Morgellons disease (MD) is an emerging multisystem illness characterized by skin lesions with unusual filaments embedded in or projecting from epithelial tissue. Filament formation results from abnormal keratin and collagen expression by epithelial-based keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Recent research comparing MD to bovine digital dermatitis, an animal infectious disease with similar skin features, provided clues that spirochetal infection could play an important role in the human disease as it does in the animal illness. Based on histological staining, immunofluorescent staining, electron microscopic imaging and polymerase chain reaction, we report the detection of Borrelia spirochetes in dermatological tissue of four randomly-selected MD patients. The association of MD with spirochetal infection provides evidence that this infection may be a significant factor in the illness and refutes claims that MD lesions are self-inflicted and that people suffering from this disorder are delusional. Molecular characterization of the Borrelia spirochetes found in MD patients is warranted.


Copyright: © 2013 Middelveen MJ et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licence, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Publisher Citation

Middelveen MJ, Burugu D, Poruri A et al. Association of spirochetal infection with Morgellons disease [version 1; referees: 2 approved] F1000Research 2013, 2:25 (doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-25.v1)