Originally published March 6 2009
Morgellons: Expert Says Awareness and Early Treatment are Paramount
by Barbara L. Minton
(NaturalNews) Morgellons is a terrifying disease reaching pandemic status. Yet because the symptoms of the disease are so bizarre, people who have it tend to withdraw and become isolated from society. With mysterious fibers and parasites coming through lesions in their skin, Morgellons sufferers often live in fear. As a result there is no pressure on the medical establishment to become educated about the disease, and most practitioners continue to view it as isolated instances of delusional parasitosis. Because Morgellons affects cognitive functioning and the ability to communicate, its victims are often unable to advocate for themselves, and few are knowledgeable or willing to advocate for them. Trisha Springstead, a former surgical charge nurse and clinical educator who now works as an advocate for patient's rights, has stepped in to fill some of this gap. Both knowledgeable and experienced with Morgellons, Trisha agreed to be interviewed to provide the kind of insight into the disease that can only come from direct experience.
Barbara: Trisha, thank you for doing this interview. It's time for information about this disease to become widely available. Hopefully this is a start. Is incidence of Morgellons confined to the U.S.?
Trisha: Morgellons is everywhere. It's in Australia, England, Germany. The only country where people have not reported cases of Moregllons is Iceland. Dr. Neculai Dulceanu, Head of the Department of Parasitology in Romania just scraped these from the skin of a 75 year old woman there [shows slides of fibers and parasites]. He found Rotifers and Collembola in her skin using a needle aspiration biopsy. As you can see, this shows how the fibers and parasites are intermixed. When you look deep enough into the skin, this is what you find.
No one truly knows how many people have this disease, as many of the persons I have spoken with have not reported to any database. Most people with Morgellons seem to think they are the only ones who have it, so awareness is paramount. It is so important for me to let new patients know they are not alone, and that there are thousands and thousands of people with this disease.
What I have seen is that so very many people are isolating themselves. With increased awareness and validation, I am beginning to get phone calls from isolated people who have only had this disease for a short time, like five months. These people get referred to me by word of mouth and my name is all over the internet. When people with the disease peruse the internet they find my name and email me or call me. This is the best time to get patients, because at this point they just have the crawling and biting sensations. The disease is not yet full blown. Last week I had 30 calls. I have a phone number that is in my lab, and young people in their twenties and thirties are calling. This is because they are internet savvy.
I've set up an internet reporting site where people can report that they suspect they have Morgellons. I send those reports to my Congresswoman Ginny Brown Waite. Congresswoman Waite sent a letter to the head of the CDC in May of 2007. Now there is a new head at the CDC and we are back and square one tying to get them to understand what is going on.
Barbara: Tell me some numbers so we can get a feel for the scope of the disease as it is now.
Trisha: The Morgellons Research Foundation has over 13,561 reported families. Not persons, but families. Oklahoma State University has over 20,000 families registered. About 600 people have reported their disease to me, and some have reported to the CDC. My source at CDC told me that this is the most reported disease entity since the reports of HIV/AIDS. And yet so many people have not reported out of fear. The CDC wants to keep it quiet because they are afraid of mass hysteria and mass pandemonium.
There is a huge concern among many sufferers that they are going to be rounded up and put in a camp like lepers, so they don't report.
My husband is an orthopedic surgeon. He has seen six Morgellons partients come into his office, in a very small town, Brookville. These people just happened to come to him for their joint problems, and I have taught him what to look for to diagnose Morgellons. Barbara, if he has seen six right here, it means there is a huge epidemic. And since it is world wide, it is a pandemic.
The sufferers are frenzied, and scared. I can tell you with utmost certainty, at this point in the syndrome there is not a state large enough to hold all these sufferers. Look at the numbers from Oklahoma State University. The people with this disease are so secretive and opaque that this 20,000 is just the tip of the iceberg in my estimation.
I have a teleconference call every Tuesday evening with nurses from Florida to Alaska who are working with Morgellons sufferers. Last evening we went from 9 pm to 12:30 in the morning. I spoke to them regarding advocacy and how to help raise awareness. If you are interested I will see if they wouldn't mind getting you in on the next phone call. It is the nurses that are the ones who are giving out information and trying to help others and teach the doctors about this emerging pandemic.
Barbara: I'm almost afraid to ask this, but is the disease contagious?
Trisha: The jury is out on that as far as I am concerned. Many of the nurses caring for these people in hiding do not have the disease. I believe some can be contagious but I truly believe that would be the exception and not the rule. Do I believe that some were exposed to something else at the same time they contracted this...absolutely. I interviewed the captain of a boat on Monday and I spent five hours in their home. They were the most kind and decent people. The husband has the disease, but the wife and children do not. I hugged them all and did a very in depth assessment. Dr. Randy Wymore does not have the disease, and all the doctors I work with except two of them do not have the disease. Hundreds of people I have spoken with have one or two family members that have the disease, and the rest do not.
Barbara: What happens to people who are so reluctant to come forth?
Trisha: Since doctors are so unresponsive to these people, they have gone to the internet. There are boards all over where people talk about this disease. There are many videos on YouTube. They are giving each other advice and there are no medical professionals there to tell them whoa...hold on...please don't bathe in bleach, ammonia or toxic chemicals. Hold up on the dangerous advice. People who listen to this type of advice are going to have to make a decision in a few years about what type of lung cancer treatment they want. Or they will be looking for a liver transplant, because they have poisoned themselves. People with Morgellons become very desperate and understandably so, but treating themselves with chemicals they don't understand is so dangerous. Some take de-wormers and Ivermectin or Albendazole for the weight of a horse because they don't know how to calculate kilograms of body weight, and they get the stuff from a vet or a feed store.
Barbara: What is the knowledge about how Morgellons is transmitted?
Trisha: No one knows for certain how it is being transmitted. GMOs certainly have not been ruled out. Actually, nothing has been ruled out. I keep going back to water, soil, mold and pesticides. Water, soil, mold and pesticides, but I haven't as yet been able to get beyond that to a true understanding. I personally believe that it is man's misuse of the earth with Frankenscience, GMOs, and thinking they can rearrange natural ecosystems of the earth that has created this mess. I believe the disease is also vector borne in many cases. Some of the people I have spoken with distinctly remember a bite, then a red, raised area on the skin. Then it became a rash, ulcers and full blown lesions all over their bodies. Then the bugs. The bugs are the progression of Morgellons. No doubt about it. The sicker the patients become, the more the parasites build up in the body, the deeper the brain fog, and then they begin purging out bugs.
Vitaly Citovsky at Stonybrook in New York studied the fibers of 10 patients and said they had Agrobacterium Tumafaciens in their bodies (the bacterium that causes crown gall disease in plants), but what amazed him the most was that he found a biofilm on the skins of these people. It is almost like a pseudo skin. We have to penetrate that biofilm and draw this stuff out of the body or these people will never get better. If you don't, it will stay in the skin and get worse.
Dr. Kalani said the fibers from Morgellons patients were fungal. Because the body becomes like soil, fungus is attracted. The fibers are coated with the Agobacterium, which is a pathogenic fungus also known as Agent Green. Whether it is getting in the lungs, being ingested, or is vector borne or transmitted sweat to sweat is the big question.
I took slides to my friend who is an entomologist and we found fungal hyphae, alternarium, and pathogenic funguses on the slides. These are not things that grow in humans. They are organisms that grow in plants. So the human bodies of these sufferers are becoming like soil and that does that attract? Fungus, mold and parasites.
The bodies of people with Morgellons become very acidic and so we are working with pH buffers. Johns Hopkins and even Harvard have proven that many chronic diseases, especially cancer, cannot survive in a perfectly alkaline body. So, just as we raise soil alkalinity to make it more hospitable to plant life, we must alkalinize the body to fight these pathogens. If you look at my website, there is an alkaline chart and an 80% alkaline, 20% acidic diet is on there. But if you can't do it with diet, you can buffer your pH safely. There are websites that have great pH buffers and teach sufferers how to check their urine twice a day. If they are too acidic, they can take two buffers and not the whole bottle, and check their urine again in the evening.
We have so many people who worked at the Aberdeen Proving grounds (site of munitions testing in Maryland) that now have Morgellons. They were truckers for a multimillion dollar company called Horvath. I called the owner of Horvath and told her, "Do you not understand that you have truckers who are very sick because they were exposed to soil contaminants at Aberdeen?" This woman, Sheila Horvath, said, "[S]peak to my lawyer". No one wants to go up against this company in Maryland because they have power and money. The people with the disease and I want to know what was in that soil.
There are Morgellons sufferers in the Poconos and I speak with them when I can. They are having a hard time getting lost wages and disability, and have been called delusional. Barbara, they are the salt of the earth, just good, kind people. They are not delusional. I am beginning to think the doctors who label them only say "delusional" because they don't want to look at this.
Then, as you know, there are doctors with this disease. Dr. James Matthews in Maryland almost lost his license because he was trying to help people. I saw where you commented on Dr. Beverly Drottar in your earlier article. They are the tip of the iceberg. How many biologists have this disease? I know that nurses are the number one reported sufferers, and that teachers are number two. Is it because they are reporting their disease and not hiding? That is a question I have been asking in this political quagmire, but I have no answers.
I just spoke with a woman in Tampa whose husband has had Morgellons for three years. She has a drawer full of anti-psychotic prescriptions. Their home in Grand Cayman was flooded. When they went back to it two months after the storm, he contracted Morgellons. She told me you could smell the mold from the street. Now he is a full blown case because they searched for three years to get help before they finally found Dr. Susan Kolb in Atlanta. Now he has lesions all over his legs, moving into his abdomen with bugs coming out of his body. I got him in to see Dr. Cheryl Reed in Tampa. I just spoke to her and she said he is a mess. She is getting labs to determine his liver enzymes, and is doing other studies. The jury is still out on him.
Fusarium Osysporum is a pathogenic fungus that we have seen in skin scrapings from patients. This is being sprayed on crops in the war on drugs. I have guys coming back from Afganistan with the disease. What is the biggest crop there? Opium.
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Address for contacting Trisha is: [email protected]
About the authorBarbara is a school psychologist, a published author in the area of personal finance, a breast cancer survivor using "alternative" treatments, a born existentialist, and a student of nature and all things natural.
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