Toddler ‘possessed’ after tonsillitis triggered rare condition causing OCD ...

A toddler was left 'possessed' after tonsillitis triggered a rare condition that caused him to have OCD and a nervous tic. 

Jack Gilson, now three, suffered with tonsillitis around ten times in a year after first getting it when he was a one-year-old.  

His parents, Lucie and Neil, both 33, were baffled when his behaviour drastically changed overnight, becoming so aggressive he would attack his family. 

Feeling as though the touch of others was burning his skin, Jack was unable to be dressed or even leave the house.  

Mr and Mrs Gilson, from Ilfarcombe, North Devon, were at their wits' end after being told their son may have Tourette's syndrome, autism or an allergy.

Then, they saw a mother being interviewed on TV who said her son's 'evil behaviour' was due to PANDAS syndrome, an autoimmune response to a streptococcal infection.  

Mr and Mrs Gilson saw a specialist as soon as possible, and after Jack was diagnosed with PANDAS, he fully recovered within weeks.  

Jack Gilson, now three, suffered with tonsillitis around ten times in a year after first getting it at the age of one in August 2017. He was diagnosed with PANDAS syndrome which had caused his fingernails to fall off. Pictured, in hospital in February after having his tonsils removed

Jack Gilson, now three, suffered with tonsillitis around ten times in a year after first getting it at the age of one in August 2017. He was diagnosed with PANDAS syndrome which had caused his fingernails to fall off. Pictured, in hospital in February after having his tonsils removed

Parents, Lucie and Neil, both 33, were baffled when Jack's behaviour drastically changed overnight, becoming so aggressive he would attack his family. Pictured with sister, Lily, five

Parents, Lucie and Neil, both 33, were baffled when Jack's behaviour drastically changed overnight, becoming so aggressive he would attack his family. Pictured with sister, Lily, five

Mrs Gilson, a hospitality assistant, said: 'One moment Jack was our wonderful son, who slotted into our family perfectly, and the next he had become a completely different child.

'He went from our perfect, funny little boy, to someone that at his worst we could barely recognise.

'He was always pale and scared, he looked constantly worried and just touching him would cause him pain.

'His tantrums were the worst we had ever seen, it was like he was possessed but because he couldn't be touched, we were helpless.'

THE SYMPTOMS OF PANDAS

Pans and Pandas can, in many cases, be cured with antibiotics. They share some of these symptoms:

Sudden onset of obsessive compulsive disorder, tics or severely restricted food intake combined with two or more of the following:

Anxiety, including separation anxiety, irrational fears and panic episodes.

Sudden mood changes and/or depression.

Irritability, aggression and/or severe defiant behaviour.

Hyperactivity.

Sudden deterioration in school performance.

Involuntary movement and/or sensory abnormalities (eg, finding textures unbearable).

Regression — a loss of behavioural and/or developmental skills.

Insomnia and/or sleep problems.

Involuntary urination/bed-wetting and/or a need to urinate frequently.

Hallucinations or delusions.

PANDAS, paediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder, was identified relatively recently in 1998.

Children can suffer with a range of what appear to be mental health symptoms, all of which flare up in the wake of an infection by the streptococcus group of bacteria — a common cause of sore or ‘strep’ throat.

Although it is recognised by the World Health Organization, only a small number of doctors have heard of the condition, meaning many children are misdiagnosed with other conditions such as autism for years. 

If PANDAS is caught early it can be effectively treated and can be reversible.

Jack had been perfectly normal until August 2017, when he caught tonsillitis during a holiday to the south of France with his parents and older sister, Lily, five.

Overnight he became uncontrollably angry, but after recovering from tonsillitis, he appeared to be back to his normal self.

Until November 2017 when he caught tonsillitis a second time, and his other strange symptoms returned.

Mrs Gilson said: 'He would have uncontrollable tantrums, more severe than we had ever seen.

Jack had been a perfectly normal child until he first had tonsillitis at the age of one which persisted for over a year. Pictured before with his sister, Lily, five, and father

Jack had been a perfectly normal child until he first had tonsillitis at the age of one which persisted for over a year. Pictured before with his sister, Lily, five, and father 

Jack was left 'possessed' with OCD, a nervous tic and anxiety after tonsillitis triggered a rare condition called PANDAS. Pictured, in hospital after the diagnosis to have his tonsils removed

Jack was left 'possessed' with OCD, a nervous tic and anxiety after tonsillitis triggered a rare condition called PANDAS. Pictured, in hospital after the diagnosis to have his tonsils removed

Jack, pictured after a tantrum that had left him bruised, felt as though the touch of others was burning his skin. He was unable to be dressed or even leave the house

Jack, pictured after a tantrum that had left him bruised, felt

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