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Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) facts for kids

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Pediatric acute-onset neuropsychiatric syndrome (PANS) is the name of a disease that normally begins in childhood. It causes Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and/or tics. The symptoms begin very suddenly. If it is not treated at the beginning the disease can be there also in adults. The reason for PANS can be a bacteria called "Group A streptococcus" (PANDAS type) or an immunologic reaction to other pathogens like certain bacteria or viruses. (PITANDS type).

Signs and symptoms

Patients suffering from PANS show sudden begin OCD and/or tics and at least two of these symptoms:

  1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder, or finding it hard to eat. This begins very suddenly and very intensely.
  2. At the same time, more neuropsychiatric symptoms begin. These are just as quick and severe. The symptoms are from at least two of these categories:
    1. Fear with or without a reason (Anxiety)
    2. Problems with feelings and/or sadness (Depression)
    3. Aggression
    4. Behavioral regression (acting like a younger child)
    5. Problems in school
    6. Sensory or movement problems (e.g. suddenly bad handwriting)
    7. Other symptoms, including sleep problems, bed-wetting or using the toilet very often
  3. Symptoms cannot be better explained by other illnesses such as Sydenham's chorea, systemic lupus erythematosus, Tourette disorder or others.

Similar conditions

PANS shares symptoms with other diseases. Therefore diagnostic tests must be done to exclude other conditions like Sydenham's chorea, lupus erythematosus, acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, and Tourette syndrome. Proof of acute rheumatic fever would exclude a PANS classification.


There is no direct treatment for PANS available yet. This means today only some of the symptoms can be treated. But scientists are already working to develop treatments with antibiotics and immune-based therapies that can heal the disease. Nevertheless early and consequent treatment of the symptoms seems to be important. Otherwise the disease can become a lifelong problem.

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