Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus (PANDAS) is the sudden, rapid-onset of obsessive compulsive behavior, as well as possible movement and behavioral abnormalities, following a Streptococcus pyogenes (Group A Strep) infection. The condition is hypothesized to be the result of autoimmune antibodies mistakenly attacking an area of the brain, the basal ganglia, rather than the intended infectious agent.
Recent research has shown that Streptococcus pyogenes is not the only infectious agent that can cause these sudden-onset symptoms. In a condition known as Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS), similar symptoms are observed due instead to other infectious agents such as mycoplasma, mononucleosis, Lyme disease, and the H1N1 flu virus.
In contrast to the gradual onset of symptoms in pediatric OCD, symptoms for patients with PANDAS/PANS may develop over the course of a few days and may quickly become severe.
In addition to OCD symptoms, other PANDAS/PANS-specific symptoms may include:
- Severe separation anxiety
- Anorexia or disordered eating
- Urinary frequency
- Tics and/or purposeless motor movements
- Acute handwriting difficulty