What Is PANDAS Infection? Know How Children Get Affected In This Disorder

PANDAS Infection is a neuropsychiatric autoimmune disorder which is spread through bacteria. Know how it can affect children’s health.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jun 30, 2021
What Is PANDAS Infection? Know How Children Get Affected In This Disorder

Infections are of several types and the severity of it cannot be determined by the type of disorder. However, most of these infections which are children centric makes this condition worse as it can have severe repercussions on their health and immune system as it is not able to take such load. Paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders that are associated to streptococcal infections are the ones that affect the children and cause bacterial infection. It is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder but is much more serious. Fortunately it does not happen on a large scale and can be treated with the help of medications.  Let us understand this disorder better with help of expert clinical paediatrician Dr. Arya Dev Bisht, medical practitioner in KGMU, Lucknow. 

What Is PANDAS Infection?

PANDAS infection is an bacterial infection which is most occurred in children. It is similar to obsessive compulsive disorder with more severity and unknown prevalence. Apart from knowing that it is a type of bacterial infection (Streptococcus) not much is known about its cause. It is a psychiatric and neurological condition which reveals its symptoms after the child is affected by streptococcus bacteria. PANDAS infection can occur in children from age 3 years to when they hit puberty. It is not so common condition and hence there haven’t been any cases of death from this disorder so far.

irritation_during_PANDAS

How Does PANDAS affect your health?

Dr. Arya says that this infection is usually very hard for the body to recognize. Its structure is similar to many of the human tissues therefore the immune system does not attack it in earlier phase and it takes the way inside the body. A strep bacterium tends to have this quality of molecular mimicry that resembles like any other healthy tissue of brain or heart. As strep bacteria become evident, the immune system creates anti-bodies to fight the infection. But because of similar structure, immune system is unable to recognize the exact bacterium infection source and ends up attacking healthy immune cells of brain. This causes neurological problems and condition to appear in children

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Symptoms of PANDAS Infection

Paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcal infection show its symptoms after the strep bacteria gradually spreads and affects the body. This autoimmune bacterial infection can reoccur as well if another strep bacterium enters. Symptoms of PANDAS infection can include-

  • Vocal tics symptoms like grunting, sniffing often and abrupt throat
  • Motor tics- These symptoms include head jerking, eye blinking, or facial grimacing
  • Obsessions
  • Repetitive behaviour
  • Extreme moodiness 
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Joint pain
  • Urinary conditions
  • Academic decline
  • Changes in fine motor skills of child
  • Aggression and temper issues

symptom_of_PANDAS

Types of Treatments For PANDAS Infection

This condition is like a combination of different health disorders, hence the best method to treat is to control and reduce its symptoms. Therefore medical treatment of PANDAS may include-

Medications- It can include medications such as anti-biotics, steroids and non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs. 

Plasma exchange- This is done when the condition gets severely worse and the body gets affected, plasma exchange needs to be performed on the child.

Tonsillectomy- It is a treatment to reduce PANDAS symptoms, it has been quite effective in recent past but studies are still going on this treatment method.

Intravenous immunoglobulin- This reduces and can even eliminate symptoms in severe conditions. It is very beneficial for children suffering from PANDAS infection.

severe_PANDAS_disorder

As it is a neuropsychiatric disorder, you can also opt for therapies and alternative medicine that might help reduce the symptoms. In initial stages, it can be treated through natural methods as well. Dietary supplements are also beneficial in many cases and help the child revive from this condition. Alternative therapies can also be included along with these treatment methods to help the child cope faster with the disorder. 

Paediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome also has similar symptoms and thus can be mistaken for it. Hence get your child diagnosed thoroughly before starting any kind of medication. 

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Conclusion

PANDAS infection is neuropsychiatric autoimmune disorder which is causes by a bacteria called streptococcus. It can be very severe at times if not treated correctly. This infection has both neurological and psychological affect on the child; hence it is hard to recover the child from that phase. It occurs mostly to children between the ages of 3 years to puberty. PANDAS infection defies immune system because of his structural resemblance to brain tissues. Due to this similarity anti-bodies produced by immune system attacks the healthy brain cells leading to neurological problems as well as spread of bacterial infection in the body. However it can be treated by a number of ways. There are medications and therapies that can bring down the symptoms and improve the health of the child suffering from this bacterial infection. 

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