Undiagnosed cases of strep throat can lead to dangerous conditions such as rheumatic fever, permanent damage to the heart or damaged kidneys, and now some health officials are trying to add a mental illness, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) to the list of potential complications.
Rheumatic fever, a condition that can cause damage to the heart, and kidney problems are known complications of untreated strep throat. These complications are believed to occur when the immune system goes haywire and attacks these organs. This is why all confirmed cases of strep throat should be treated with a course of appropriate antibiotics. Now, some evidence suggests that the heart and kidneys aren't the only organs that can be damaged as a result of untreated strep but that the brain might be at risk too.
Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections or PANDAS is the term some health officials are using to describe a group of patients who suddenly developed obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) as a result, (they believe), of an untreated strep infection. Recent studies have not shown an association between the abrupt onset of OCD and strep infections, but some professionals question the methods used in the studies, and since this condition is relatively new (first described in 1998) its existence remains controversial. What professionals do agree on, however, is that strep throat is not a condition to be taken lightly. If you suspect that your child has a strep infection, have them tested. If they test positive for strep throat make sure you follow through with a full course of antibiotics. For more information read:
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