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Parental Warning: Strep Throat Infection in Children can Cause Life-Long Disabilities

Oct 08, 2014 01:55PM ● By Cate Reynolds
PANDAS/PANS a Newly Identified Disorder Often Misdiagnosed
As Many as 1 In 200 Children in the United States Are Affected Every Year

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococci) and PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes) is an autoimmune reaction triggered by infections such as strep throat, walking pneumonia, viruses and Lyme, which result in inflammation of the child’s brain. This inflammation can cause a sudden, dramatic onset of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), or severely restrictive food intake, as well as anxiety, depression, tics, neurological conditions, sleep disturbances, and a host of other psychiatric behaviors.

According to the CDC, nearly 2 million children could be affected by some of the symptoms of this disorder. As a relatively newly identified disorder, PANDAS-PANS is not yet well understood – sometimes not recognized at all – by frontline physicians. Children are often misdiagnosed and symptoms escalate and a lifetime of physical and psychological trauma can continue. A simple course of antibiotics can stop symptoms of this disorder.

The average age of onset is between ages 4-7, but can occur anytime throughout childhood.

PANDAS-PANS first-ever treatment guidelines will be published in the 2015 January special edition of the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology. To learn more about PANDAS-PANS visit: (and outreach partner of the NIMH)

--Sarah Hagerty