A disease that spreads through the internet?

Robert Bartholomew, a sociologist who has studied the Morgellons phenomenon, states that the "World Wide Web has become the incubator for mass delusion and it (Morgellons) seems to be a socially transmitted disease over the Internet." According to this hypothesis, people with delusions of parasitosis and other psychological disorders become convinced they have "Morgellons" after reading Internet accounts of others with similar symptoms. This is known as mass psychogenic illness, where physical symptoms without an organic cause spread to multiple people within the same community or social group. A 2005 Popular Mechanics article stated that Morgellons symptoms are well-known and characterized in the context of other disorders, and that "widespread reports of the strange fibers date back" only a few years to when the MRF first described them on the Internet. 
The Dallas Observer writes that Morgellons may be memetically spread via the Internet and mass media, and "[i]f this is the case, then Morgellons is one in a long line of weird diseases that have swept through populations, only to disappear without a trace once public concern subsides". The article draws parallels to several media-spread mass delusions.
Morgellons - Wikipedia

No comments: