STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Rare Condition Triggers Behavioral Disorders In Cases Of Strep Throat

It's that time of year again. Not the holidays, but strep throat season.It's a common and painful infection fo...

Posted: Dec 21, 2017 9:51 AM
Updated: Dec 21, 2017 9:51 AM

It's that time of year again. Not the holidays, but strep throat season.

It's a common and painful infection for young kids that's usually cured by antibiotics. But for a few children, strep can trigger bizarre behavioral disorders such as severe tantrums, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even tics.

It's a rare complication caused by an immune system that attacks the strep bacteria and the child's brain. The Markowitz family says their son went from being happy-go-lucky to a totally different kid seemingly overnight.

Saul and Bonnie say they remember the day their world changed forever in February 2007.

"It was almost psychotic," Bonnie said.

Their son Brandon was five and a half when he suddenly changed, showing tantrums that couldn't be controlled and debilitating OCD.

His parents say Brandon just wasn't being Brandon.

"One day he's doing his thing really happy and wanting to go out and do his thing, and suddenly the next day he wakes up and we aren't sure what's going on," Saul said.

Doctors say it's because of a strep infection Brandon had developed PANDAS, which stands for Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal infections.

"What that basically means is a child gets an infection and the antibodies to that infection end up attacking the brain instead of the germs," PANDAS expert Dr. Elizabeth Spaar said.

A new documentary called "My Kid is not Crazy" tells the stories of several families whose children suffer from the violent outbursts, tics, and tantrums from PANDAS.

Even though PANDAS is estimated to affect one in 200 children, the condition is often misdiagnosed. Antibiotics are the standard of treatment.

"For the kids where it isn't caught early and misdiagnosed, there can be lifelong effects from it, unfortunately," Dr. Spaar said.

Brandon's case was caught early, and his parents say he's doing well thanks to even more advanced treatments like IVIg, or intravenous immunoglobulin, where the immune system is given a boost with healthy donor antibodies.

While many children have tantrums, OCD, and tics, what makes it PANDAS is the sudden and dramatic onset of the symptoms in a closely related timeframe to a strep infections.

While most cases get better with antibiotics, symptoms can take weeks to go away and many kids relapse.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 119336

Reported Deaths: 3328
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds8109180
DeSoto734280
Harrison553785
Jackson488488
Rankin412386
Madison388094
Lee368682
Forrest313478
Jones298484
Washington2644100
Lauderdale2611135
Lafayette256043
Lamar234040
Oktibbeha206055
Bolivar205279
Neshoba1883111
Lowndes182862
Leflore173088
Panola172241
Sunflower165949
Warren156656
Monroe154873
Pontotoc151520
Marshall150530
Lincoln144859
Pike140956
Copiah139936
Scott128129
Coahoma126537
Union126025
Yazoo124534
Simpson124049
Grenada123139
Tate123039
Pearl River117960
Itawamba117827
Leake117042
Holmes115160
Adams110245
Prentiss109520
Alcorn105012
Wayne103422
George103020
Covington99729
Marion96944
Tippah95124
Hancock88128
Newton88128
Chickasaw87028
Winston85921
Tallahatchie85826
Tishomingo83141
Attala80927
Clarke78353
Clay71522
Jasper69817
Walthall64827
Calhoun63613
Smith60816
Noxubee60317
Yalobusha56616
Montgomery56523
Lawrence55314
Claiborne54216
Tunica53917
Perry52823
Carroll50912
Stone49814
Greene48218
Humphreys45817
Amite43413
Jefferson Davis42412
Quitman4246
Webster38213
Benton36911
Wilkinson34321
Kemper33415
Sharkey29115
Jefferson28110
Franklin2533
Choctaw2096
Issaquena1074
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 162720

Reported Deaths: 2735
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson23940385
Mobile17123319
Tuscaloosa10602141
Montgomery10503199
Madison955798
Shelby760565
Baldwin676869
Lee664965
Calhoun476562
Marshall447451
Etowah441952
Morgan430835
Houston423934
DeKalb355429
Elmore327858
St. Clair311342
Limestone297031
Walker287493
Talladega276437
Cullman266525
Lauderdale240543
Jackson225317
Autauga212631
Colbert210232
Franklin209432
Blount200925
Russell19833
Chilton192332
Dallas189227
Dale184952
Coffee183611
Covington177329
Escambia175831
Clarke138717
Chambers138047
Tallapoosa137287
Pike136414
Marion110931
Barbour10559
Marengo104622
Butler101941
Winston94713
Geneva9427
Pickens89018
Lawrence88533
Bibb86115
Randolph84616
Hale78130
Cherokee76414
Clay76312
Washington75812
Henry7316
Lowndes72128
Monroe66310
Bullock65117
Crenshaw61230
Fayette59913
Perry5996
Cleburne5799
Conecuh57213
Wilcox57112
Macon54320
Lamar5235
Sumter48621
Choctaw39512
Greene34516
Coosa2173
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
59° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 59°
Columbus
Clear
58° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 58°
Oxford
Clear
57° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 39°
Feels Like: 57°
Starkville
Clear
55° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 55°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather