This week, I was on a brilliant webinar with Dr Tim Ubhi and Sarah Sharp about PANDAS and Coronavirus.
PANDAS is an autoimmune neuropsychiatric childhood illness triggered by a streptococcus infection like a sore throat, tonsillitis or scarlet fever. Instead of the child fighting the infection appropriately, the infection fights the basal ganglia in the brain triggering OCD, Tics, Anxiety, Urinary Incontinence & Food Restrictions amongst other sudden changes in the child. It is very scary as a child seems to literally change character overnight. The average age of this occurring is 9 years old, but we do see kids much younger than that with this presentation. It is also thought that some late onset presentations of autism (a regression in kids over the age of 3) maybe a manifestation of a similar autoimmune reaction to an infection.
The symptoms can wax and wane and can be exacerbated by an exposure to other infections including viruses as these up-regulates the child’s immune response. This is why there are concerns for these kids during the Coronavirus pandemic. If you know of any families with a child who has a PANDAS/PANS diagnosis and they are worried about the impact on treatments during Coronavirus, then please share our latest webinar hosted Dr Tim Ubhi, Sarah Sharpe and myself on behalf of The Children’s e-Hospital.