The story

Mad cow disease, SARS and now swine flu: Some diseases grab the headlines. But thousands of people worldwide suffer from very rare conditions, many of which few people have ever heard of.

From the Alice in Wonderland syndrome that might have inspired Lewis Carroll, to the disease that may have sent an English King mad, we take a look at some of these obscure illnesses.

Morgellons

According to the Morgellons Research Foundation, crawling, biting and stinging sensations and the emergence of strange blue, black or red fibers from the skin characterize a disease that nearly 14,000 people suffer from, according to the Foundation.

This is often accompanied by exhaustion, short-term memory loss, joint pain and changes in vision. The condition was named Morgellons in 2002 by a mother who believed her two-year-old son was suffering from the disease. The name comes from a 17th century skin condition found in France, in which children died after the emergence of 'dark hair.' Read full article »

Vital Signs
Each month CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta brings viewers health stories from around the world.

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