CHESAPEAKE, Va. - For several weeks, WAVY.com has been following Lauren Johnson,the 12 year-old Chesapeake girl who started sneezing in upwards of12,000 times per day after suffering from a bad cold. Recently,Lauren was officially diagnosed with Paediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associatedwith Streptococcus, otherwise known as PANDAS.
"Now we can actually treat it as something," says Lauren who isthrilled to finally have a diagnosis.
WAVY.com spoke with Dr. Rosario Trifiletti, a child neurologisttreating Lauren. He explained the onset of PANDAS. "Followinga common streptococcal infection, the most common of which peopleare familiar with, the strep throat from a few days to a couple ofweeks later, there's a marked change in a child that getsthis."
Trifiletti says those changes happen quickly. PANDASsymptoms include:
- Cognitive inflexibility, difficult to reason with, as if stuck on an idea
- Obsessive/repetitive/compulsive argumentative behaviours
- TICS (repetitive vocalisations of body movements)
- Tourettes Syndrome
- Attention deficits and oppositional/defiant behaviours.
The good news? There is treatment for Lauren and other childrenwho suffer from PANDAS.
"She was placed on antibiotics and has improved considerably,"says Dr. Trifiletti.
However, there is some bad news.
"Lauren is at risk of getting this again, so we're probablygoing to place her on some sort of...a low dose of antibiotics, fora long period of time," says Dr. Trifiletti.
Lauren's family learned the PANDAS diagnosis is relativelyunknown. It was discovered only 13 years ago meaning a lot oftrial and error.
"If it doesn't work, you know, you cry and you go, 'Why? Itdoesn't work,' and then the next day comes and you try somethingelse, you start something else until you find what works for yourchild," says Lauren's mother, Lynn choking up.
"People need to know about it. I think the more we know asparents, the more we're going to accomplish."
Dr. Trifiletti tells WAVY.com there could be millions of kidssuffering from PANDAS, but only several thousand have beendiagnosed.
Lynn Johnson says she's in close contact with other PANDASparents, networking, sharing new research, and supporting oneanother. Their goal is to shine more light on the disorder.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
Suffolk police are looking for a man and a woman they say robbed a Kangaroo Express gas station on Wilroy Road Sunday afternoon.
The art of making jewelry is helping some Norfolk students learn independence and job skills.