We would tell you what this is, but you might find it kinda, well, gross. OK, it's allegedly a Morgellons fiber taken from a kid's lip. Happy?

Sick, or Sick in the Head?

Two weeks ago we reported on the mysterious skin disease known as Morgellons, which is defined by symptoms that include black sweat and colored fibers sprouting from the skin. According to a recent article in the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, the fibers appear to be cellulose and most Morgellons patients also test positive for lyme disease (the article was written by three members of the Morgellons Research Foundation and published under the heading "Current Opinion").

As noted in our story, the Centers for Disease Control has formed a task force to investigate the disease, which most doctors dismiss as delusions of parasites, a rare psychiatric disorder in which people believe bugs are literally crawling under their skin. Since our story came out, the CDC has announced an e-mail address for people to ask questions about Morgellons, largely because of the volume of calls they are getting because of the media attention the disease has generated. Here's the e-mail address.

The cause of the disease remains a mystery. Joe Brown, a licensed massage therapist from South Carolina, wrote the Observer to suggest that its symptoms are similar to something called pfiesteria, which he said fishermen sometimes catch. Another suggested the disease is caused by genetically modified agricultural products. And a man from Southern California suggested the disease is caused by "chemtrails," one of the theories we mentioned in our story--though this reader insists chemtrails are not jet engine plumes, as we reported. "They are chemicals, mostly aluminum oxide and barium oxide, deliberately being sprayed from specially equipped planes," he wrote. "You can see for yourself with high-powered binoculars or a good telephoto lens that the 'plumes' are not coming from the engines. Many speculate as to the purpose but of course all government agencies deny their existence which in and of itself is reason enough for alarm."

Finally, we got an e-mail from Mike Connor, one of the "experts" quoted in our Indigo kids story published in March. He said he was interested in this new disease and wondered if he could help. Maybe the Indigo kids have the answer. --Jesse Hyde

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