Imagine a strain of strep throat with side effects so shocking and dangerous that some believe it leads to obsessive compulsive disorder.
PANDAS is Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections.
Symptoms can include involuntary facial ticks, obsessive compulsive disorder and violent fits of rage.
Garrett Nass is an 11-year-old who developed a tick after an infection at age five.
More than two years and multitudes of behavioral tests later, doctors found a strep infection in his blook, even though he'd never had strep throat.
"Instead of his antibodies attacking the strep," said his mom Catherine, "it was attacking his brain, which was causing the OCD and tics."
According to doctors, PANDAS actually attacks the immune system, which wreaks havoc on the brain, often leading to a misdiagnosis because PANDAS mimcs many psychological issues.
"When they were treated with antibiotics, the behaviors diminished or actually disappeared," said Dr. Dean Klug, an ear, nose and throat specialist. "So there was felt to be a connection. And with repeated infections and with these disturbing behaviors, it was found that in many cases by getting the tonsils removed that these behaviors could be resolved."
Garrett must take antibiotics for the rest of his life to prevent infections that could inflame his symptoms.
The PANDAS disorder primarily affects young children. A blood test is the way doctors determine if your child carries this type of strep.