PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day

10/09/2019

WHEREAS, PANDAS/PANS are serious, clinically diagnosed illnesses; and

WHEREAS, Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections (PANDAS) is the sudden onset of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) often displayed as severe anxiety and emotional disturbances in addition to two or more of the following symptoms; tics or other abnormal movement, severe separation anxiety, generalized anxiety, irritability, emotional lability, aggression, personality changes, ADHD, inability to concentrate, sensory sensitivities, deterioration in learning abilities and school performance, developmental and age regression, sleep and nighttime difficulties, and/or urinary frequency or daytime/nighttime secondary enuresis; and

WHEREAS, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes (PANS) encompasses the whole group of acute-onset cases of OCD, and the diagnostic criteria for PANS is abrupt, dramatic onset of OCD or severely restricted food intake, concurrent presence of additional neuropsychiatric symptoms, with similarly severe and acute onset and symptoms that are not better explained by a known neurologic or medical disorder; and

WHEREAS, PANDAS/PANS children may have moderate to dramatic improvements with antibiotics within one week of treatment; however, further interventions may be needed; many parents and doctors report prolonged antibiotics (two months to several years) and/or IVIG (intravenous immunoglobulin) treatment or plasmapheresis; and

WHEREAS, PANDAS/PANS remains frequently misdiagnosed, undiagnosed and under treated due to the lack of awareness of these disorders, both by the public and medical community; and

WHEREAS, researchers at the National Institute of Mental Health are currently engaged in extensive research and testing on how to effectively treat these disorders; and

WHEREAS, while the true prevalence of PANDAS/PANS is yet to be known, a conservative estimate is 1 in 200 children are impacted; PANDAS/PANS is likely as common as illnesses like Pediatric Cancer, Pediatric Diabetes, and ALS, and can seriously affect the healthy outcome of a child’s life, yet funding and awareness of PANDAS/PANS is scarce; and

WHEREAS, organizations such as PANDAS Network and Pediatric Research and Advocacy Initiative (PRAI) are dedicated to advocating on behalf of youth with PANDAS/PANS by providing emotional and social support to families, raising community awareness, and investing in data-driven research; and

WHEREAS, PANDAS/PANS Awareness Day is an opportunity to increase awareness about this health issue and available treatment options;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Ralph S. Northam, do hereby recognize October 9, 2019, as PANDAS/PANS AWARENESS DAY in our COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA, and I call this observance to the attention of all our citizens.