Fibres from masks and swabs aren’t 'Morgellons'

14 April 2021
What was claimed

Fibres from face masks and test swabs can cause Morgellons disease.

Our verdict

False. There is nothing sinister about these fibres and there is some debate as to whether Morgellons is a real disease.

What was claimed

Fibres from face masks and test swabs are evidence of parasites.

Our verdict

This is not true. There is nothing sinister about these fibres.

What was claimed

Fibres from face masks and test swabs are evidence that nanoparticles are being inserted into us.

Our verdict

This is not true. Nanoparticles are not part of masks and swabs, and are too small to be seen with the naked eye.

Videos are being shared on social media warning of small black fibres that apparently come out of face masks and Covid-19 test swabs. The videos claim the fibres could be evidence of parasites or nanoparticles being inserted in humans, that they cause Morgellons disease or are part of some other sinister agenda

While fibres can be found in masks and swabs, none of these other claims are true, and there is no evidence to back them up. Scientists have said the small fibres are not sinister in any way.

We have checked similar false claims before, as have other fact checking organisations including Reuters and AFP.

Jana Nebesarova, assistant professor at the electron microscopy laboratory at the Biological Center of the Czech Academy of Sciences, told AFP that fibres are “most likely” to be fabric fragments and “are not dangerous for a healthy person”. 

Parasites

Some of the videos describe the fibres as “worms” that appear to react to things like water and heat, suggesting they are living, and warn they are parasites. 

There is no evidence that this is the case. Rather than moving of their own volition, it is very likely that the small threads are being moved by barely perceptible movements, for example air moving water, or changes in air caused by heat, or static electricity. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines a parasite as “an organism that lives on or in a host organism and gets its food from or at the expense of its host”. We can find no authentic reports globally of anyone suffering from a parasite as a result of wearing a mask or using a test swab.

Nanoparticles

Some videos suggest the fibres are evidence of nanoparticles on the swabs and masks. This is not true either.

As the name suggests, nanoparticles are very small units, which are found in the natural world, can be man-made, and are often used in medicine. They cannot be seen with the naked eye.

Some research has been done about whether nanoparticles could be used to develop more efficient Covid-19 tests, but they are not part of the swab used in tests.

Morgellons 

Other videos link the fibre to something called “Morgellons”. 

Morgellons disease is a controversial condition, where sufferers report symptoms including fibres sprouting from under the skin and a crawling sensation under the skin. However, it is hotly debated as to whether Morgellons—which was first reported in the modern era in 2001 in America and is largely self-diagnosed—is actually a physical disease rather than a delusion. 

A large study into the condition by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US found “no common underlying medical condition or infectious source was identified, similar to more commonly recognised conditions such as delusional infestation”. 

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as false because there is nothing sinister about any of these fibres.

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