State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Dist. 23) | Contributed photo
State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D-Dist. 23) is on a mission to raise awareness for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS).
Cullerton recently introduced a measure to create an advisory council that would make recommendations to the Illinois Department of Public Health on awareness and education among doctors, school-based health centers and mental health providers.
“As a father of three young boys, I understand the importance of educating medical professionals and the general public on the symptoms caused by PANDAS," Cullerton said. “We need to find ways for early diagnosis to prevent families like Charlie’s from living months without answers. The earlier we detect these signs of PANDAS, the quicker we can begin treatment.”
PANDAS is characterized by a sudden onset of symptoms associated with obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette’s syndrome and other tics after a child has had a strep infection.
Symptoms range from severe separation anxiety, motor tics that appear similar to seizures, hallucinations and newfound fears such as fear of water to the point of being afraid to brush their teeth or bathe. The symptoms are severe enough to prevent children from attending school.