LETTER: Governor should have formally recognized autoimmune disorders

Published: Monday, October 21, 2013 at 06:02 PM.

Dear editor,

The PANDAS Network had been working with the local support groups across the country to have Oct. 9 declared PANDAS/PANS/PITAND Awareness Day.

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcal Infections), PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndromes) and PITAND (Pediatric Infection-Triggered Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders) are characterized by the body’s improper immune response to infection. Neurological symptoms — including loss of motor skills, loss of cognitive abilities and other temporary psychiatric reactions including OCD, ODD, Tourette’s and ADHD-type reactions — can develop.

The Florida PANDAS Parents group requested a proclamation from Gov. Rick Scott's office several months ago; it would have recognized the University of South Florida and the Rothman Center’s contribution and dedication to helping children with these disorders.

Unfortunately, Scott decided not to join the many other states, cities and countries recognizing Oct. 9 as a day to raise awareness for our cause.

Every day, one more child is identified as having PANDAS and is on the road to recovering a happy, healthy life. Through hard work, doctors around the world are becoming more aware of the effects of infection on mental illness.

Hopefully, some day, our children's suffering can come to an end.

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