Mysterious illness that causes twitches may have hit St. Louis -

Mysterious illness that causes twitches may have hit St. Louis

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

(KMOV) – A mysterious illness is affecting two dozen high school students who are suffering from uncontrollable body movements and speech patterns in New York.  At least a dozen families in the St. Louis area say their children had it as well.

One New York based doctor thinks it is a condition known as “PANDAS,” an immune-system reaction caused by the strep throat virus. 

Lori Suthar is a Chesterfield mother who recognized the symptoms from her own son, Joshua, who was affected when he was six-years-old. she has also written a book called "Joshua's Missing Peace."

“Basically a child gets a strep infection and the antibodies the child creates to fight the strep attack the brain and cause tics, OCD, anxiety, ADHD, rage and anorexia,” Suthar said.

PANDAS, discovered in 1998, is an illness that does not affect most people and the victims all have some underlying immune system.

The families of children who suffered from the illness tell News 4 their kids have been effectively treated with antibiotics.

Most of the families had to leave St. Louis to get the treatment, because the diagnosis is very rare and they could not find local physicians willing to diagnose it.

Dr. Brad Schlaggar is a Washington University Neurologist. He says the diagnosis is real, but requires very specific criteria. He conducted a study of 400 Tourette's patients, and says even very few of those patients had PANDAS.

“About one percent of the patients I saw met the criteria and we would be the place you would see the out of control tics,” Dr. Brad Schlaggar said.


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