Morgellons Disease

Diagnostic Testing

The key diagnostic criterion for Morgellons Disease is the presence of unusual filaments beneath unbroken skin or projecting from skin. At present, there are no diagnostic laboratory tests specifically targeting Morgellons Disease. However recent research has shown Morgellons to be closely associated with Borrelia spirochetes. Borrelia spirochetes are a cork-screw shaped bacteria that are vector-borne, meaning they are most often transmitted to humans by arthropods such as ticks, fleas, mosquitos or mites.

Vector borne diseases are commonly associated with co-infections. Some Borrelia species are known as the causative agent of Lyme disease while others, Relapsing Fever Borrelia are known for causing similar illness with “Lyme-like” symptoms. Multiple species of Borrelia have been detected in Morgellons skin tissue thus testing for both Lyme disease and Relapsing Fever Borrelia is recommended. Additionally, scientific studies have shown co-infections to vary among Morgellons patients with Babesia, Bartonella, Anaplasma and Rickettsia as the most common. Accordingly it is recommended to include testing for any of these suspected co-infections. Finally, Helicobacter Pylori (H Pylori) has also been shown to be associated with Morgellons as research detected H Pylori in approximately 60% of Morgellons skin tissue samples. Thus medical experts recommend a thorough evaluation, testing and treatment (if indicated) for Morgellons patients in whom H Pylori has been detected.

Unfortunately there is no test currently available that is 100% accurate for diagnosing Lyme Disease or many of the other co-infections. Both false positive and false negative results can occur, with the latter being far more common. Ultimately, a Lyme diagnosis or other co-infection diagnosis is a clinical diagnosis to be made by a qualified physician or other healthcare provider, based on symptoms and patient history, with test results used as tools to aid in the diagnosis. At the bottom of this page are five reputable laboratories that offer testing for Lyme Disease and many of the other co-infections previously discussed. IGeneX offers the most comprehensive testing suite, but due to cost considerations and the fact that not all patients have access to IGeneX through their medical provider, four other excellent laboratories are provided which are Clongen, Medical Diagnostic Laboratories, Australian Biologics, and Infectolab Americas.


There are two polarized views of Lyme disease, both in terms of diagnostic criteria and treatment:

  • A narrowly defined, rigidly-interpreted point of view predominates worldwide and is held by some organizations such as the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • A broader defined, less rigidly-interpreted point of view held by other organizations such as the International Lyme and Associated Disease Society (ILADS).

ISDA Lyme Disease Guidelines

  • The IDSA Lyme disease guidelines suggest that Lyme disease is hard to catch, easy to cure, and that short-term antibiotic use of a few weeks can cure most cases of Lyme disease. Those who hold this view don’t believe in the existence of a chronic form of Lyme disease.
  • They maintain that a small number of patients may have lingering symptoms after short-term antibiotic use, and they refer to these symptoms as “Post-Lyme Syndrome.” It is their opinion that unresolved symptoms are not persistent infection by Borrelia burgdorferi, but rather autoimmune in nature. The IDSA recommends against long-term courses of antibiotics.

ILADS Guidelines

  • The ILADS guidelines that chronic Lyme disease and persistent infection with Borrelia burgdorferi, even after treatment with antibiotics, are realities and are more frequently the norm rather than the exception.
  • ILADS advises that treatment with long-term antibiotic therapy is often needed to manage chronic Lyme symptoms. ILADS supports their point of view by stating that peer-reviewed, scientific research, published in reputable medical and scientific journals, demonstrates that Lyme bacteria can survive after treatment with long-term antibiotics.
  • Physicians from this point of view use varied combinations and repeated courses of antibiotics to treat Lyme disease. ILADS-trained physicians frequently report that patients with persistent infections of Lyme benefit from and have been helped to regain self-sufficiency by way of long-term antibiotic treatment.
  • Some may argue against the usage of long-term antibiotics stating that this use can develop resistance to bacteria. ILADS refutes this claim and contends that antibiotic resistance generally develops as a result of improper usage of the antibiotics (i.e. not taking long enough), and thus recommend to patients to take antibiotics as prescribed, most often until symptoms are resolved.
  • The ILADS position defends the long-term use of antibiotics by arguing that the consequences of untreated chronic Lyme disease far outweigh the consequences of long-term antibiotic use. They maintain that there has never been a published study demonstrating that 30 days of antibiotics will cure chronic Lyme disease.

More Information on Diagnosis Criteria

  • Lyme serologic testing at many laboratories fails to detect antibodies at levels high enough to be interpreted as positive by the CDC surveillance criteria. Consequently, Lyme disease testing at laboratories specializing in tick-borne diseases is recommended. A physician or other qualified healthcare provider must sign a requisition for Lyme disease testing, and a physician or other qualified healthcare provider knowledgeable about Lyme disease should be consulted for interpretation of test results and for the diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease.
  • Borrelia burgdorferi sensu stricto, a spirochetal bacterium and causative agent of Lyme disease, has been detected in dermatological tissue from Morgellons patients, as has Borrelia garinii, a closely-related Lyme disease-causing bacterium falling into the Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato group. Lyme-like illness can also be caused by spirochetes other than Borrelia burgdorferi (Bb). At present other spirochetes from other genera have not been detected in Morgellons dermatological tissue, but neither have they been ruled out.
  • Not a lot is known about the genetic diversity of spirochetes associated with Morgellons disease. Some laboratories offer testing based on several strains of Bb, including European strains and other related strains. In addition to spirochetal infection, ticks may carry other organisms that co-infect the patient at the time of a tick bite. Patients who have been diagnosed with Lyme disease should be tested for tickborne co-infections.
  • The most common laboratory tests for Lyme disease are serologic tests for antibodies against Bb. Other tests include Bb antigen detection, PCR detection of Bb DNA, lymphocyte transformation tests (LTT), and culture of spirochetes. Elevated complement C4a levels and decreased CD57 natural killer cell levels may be associated with chronic Lyme disease. These tests may aid physicians in determining a Lyme disease diagnosis.
  • For further information about Lyme disease and Lyme-knowledgeable healthcare professionals, please see: and
  • You can check out referral resources at: Local/State Lyme support groups.

The following laboratories are reputable laboratories offering testing for Lyme Disease:

  • Laboratory: IGeneX
  • Available Tests:Serologic testing, PCR, antigen detection, co-infection testing, CD57 NK testing
  • Further Information:
  • Laboratory: Clongen
  • Available Tests:Serologic testing (European as well as American strains), PCR, co-infection testing
  • Further Information:
  • Laboratory: Medical Diagnostic Laboratories
  • Available Tests:Serologic testing (European as well as American strains), PCR, co-infection testing
  • Further Information:
  • Laboratory: Australian Biologics
  • Available Tests:PCR (first to detect spirochetes in Morgellons samples)
  • Further Information: