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200. Morgellons: The Non-Existent Epidemic

Supposed Morgellons 'Disease Fibres'

It spreads like wildfire beneath the skin, the slight prickling sensation of itching. Tiny and innumerable fibres seem to poke through the skin and tiny parasites creep beneath the surface. The urge to pick at the fibres arrives, fingertips reach and simply start to scratch. Later sores appear over the body near where the picking occurred, it feels as though the fibres are causing it.

This peculiar condition is called Morgellons. In the past 11 years 12,000 people claim to have been affected. Yet, according to the consensus among medical professionals, it does not exist.

The first case was in 2001, Mary Leitao’s son had sores around his mouth and complained of feeling ‘bugs’ beneath them. She examined his skin with a toy microscope and found an astonishing array of coloured fibres peppered over his skin. She did some reading and found a reference in a 17th Century text referring to a condition in which people had long dark hairs grow on their backs. From this text she got the word ‘Morgellons.’ She maintained that it was a new condition and set up a foundation to research it.

After 12,000 reported cases a million dollars(USD) was set aside by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) in the United States of America to research it. They followed the symptoms and tracked down those claiming to have morgellons. Sufferers described their compulsion to pick at the fibres, often displaying a strong conviction that they were the products of other creatures beneath or on the skin. Morgellons sufferers were looking for a little information and a confirmation of the conditions existence. The CDC more than scratched the surface, the drilled deep.

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Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Articles

 

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148. A Case of Contagious Laughter

During 1962 in Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, there was an outbreak of mass hysteria. This phenomenal outbreak is known as the ‘Tanganyika Laughter Epidemic’ – it started in school. 30 January, in a mission run boarding school for girls. During the day a group of three girls started to uncontrollably giggle, soon the laughter spread through the school haphazardly until by the end of the day 95 out of the 159 students were affected, afflicted with intermittent uncontrollable fits of laughter. The students reportedly had difficulty focusing in lessons, much to the chagrin of the teachers. The teachers who were, I may add, unaffected.

The school being a boarding school meant that the epidemic was contained, some recovered after a few hour whilst others were affected greatly for 16 days. Thanks to recurring incidents of laughter the school was forced t close in March. When the students were sent home the contagious laughter further spread. By May, 217 people had experienced the laughing fits and they even spread to another school. The boarding was opened and then closed again. 14 schools had to close due to the severity of the condition, those who came down with laughter were incapacitated for the entire duration of each fit.

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Posted by on June 17, 2011 in Articles, Trivia

 

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