Lyme Disease and Kaiser

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February 2008

Morgellons is a disease that has garnered widespread attention in the past few years. The cause of the disease is unknown.
The most  significant aspect of the disease is the growth of multicolored fibers erupting from lesions in the skin. Many patients
with Morgellons also have documented Lyme disease, and Morgellons patients typically have symptom overlap with Lyme disease.

This disease is not a new disease. In the past doctors have dismissed Morgellons sufferers with a diagnosis of delusional
parasitosis – a psychiatric condition in which a patient believes parasites are crawling in their bodies. I know one Morgellons
sufferer who is an intelligent, normal professional and was given this diagnosis. Dismissive use of the term “delusional
parasitosis” should be a red flag that signifies the uninformed, uncaring doctors who parrot this diagnosis to hide their
ignorance and laziness.

The Centers for Disease Control has awarded Kaiser Permanente a grant to study Morgellons DiseaseMorgellons in their patient 
population in Northern California. The CDC uses Kaiser for studies because of their captive member base. 
All, or most, records for health care received reside at Kaiser and can be retrieved. In addition, patients 
included in clinical trials can be easily tracked.   This  also avoids the  expense of enrolling people in clinical
trials or studies.
 It is more than likely that this study will validate the theorem “garbage in, garbage out.”
One potential flaw is the probability that inadequate care has affected the reliability of information contained in patient records.
An example that would relate to this study is the fact that many (and perhaps all) Morgellons sufferers also have Lyme disease. 

Kaiser’s attitude of Lyme denial is documented in Kaiser Papers and elsewhere. It is highly unlikely that Kaiser members
who have complained of Morgellons have ever received a Lyme blood test by Kaiser. And in the event that they have, Kaiser’s
serodiagnostic Lyme test is  wholly unreliable and will almost always result in a negative reading for West Coast members in
particular. So the association of Morgellons with Lyme disease will not be made.

I am very skeptical that this study will result in anything helpful to the Morgellons community and may, in fact, be harmful. In all
likelihood, this study will be tailored to suit a desired outcome: denial that Morgellons is a real disease. Some Morgellons
patients who have been badly treated by Kaiser have stated that they will not participate in this study. Whether or not Kaiser
will go ahead anyway and use data from their medical records without their permission is unknown.

The links below provide some informative articles worth reading relating to this study.

Morgellons Study – Observations

Morgellons Study Authors – Summary

Kaiser/CDC Morgellons Study Participants

U.S. orders study of bizarre Morgellons condition  (AssociatedPress)

Subject: why is CDC using a lyme-denialist organization to study Lyme-related Morgellons?

One question that must be asked is where is Kaiser reporting this income they generate from using their captive member
base and member records for studies such as these? They are not separately reported in Kaiser’s financial filings. This
would include income from not only government agencies but also drug companies and other for-profit entities as well.

Perhaps the most infamous Kaiser/CDC collaboration was the fraudulent enrollment of minority low-income children in a
harmful measles vaccine trial done in the early 1990’s.


The integrity of the CDC should be questioned along with that of Kaiser Permanente. It is unfortunate for the nation

that an increasing number of health care advocates in specialty areas are now discrediting the CDC as a source of
reliable information.

Miguel Perez-Lizano may be reached via e-mail