Federal disease experts have launched an investigation into the outbreak of a mysterious skin condition that causes a stinging or crawling sensation, confusion and fatique, USA Today reports. Cases of Morgellons disease are on the rise, especially in California and Texas. The condition is so little-known that it was only named in 2002, after a similar condition reported in the 17th century. Some 11,000 families, several with more than one member affected, have registered with the Morgellons Research Foundation
Morgellons symptoms also include open sores, black specks, and strange fibers emerging from the skin. Experts know that the patients' suffering is real, but are certain of little else. Some think Morgellons patients may be suffering from psychiatric problems. "There is no textbook on this condition," said an investigator. "We're at the beginning of the learning curve."