Throat infection left schoolboy holding knife to throat and acting ‘possessed’

A psychiatrist has revealed how a simple throat infection left her 10-year-old son like a child "possessed" – laughing maniacally, holding a knife to his throat and with bizarre phobias, including a terror of stepping on seagull droppings.

Usually a sociable, loving boy, Jack Maclaine's personality changed overnight, terrifying his mum, Alison, 44, and full-time dad, Neil, 64, with distressing outbursts, declaring on one occasion: "When we get home I'm going to take my clothes off and sit outside until I freeze to death."

Eventually, after four months, Jack, of Dumfries, Scotland, was diagnosed with PANDAS, a set of conditions which result in inflammation of the brain, causing a variety of neuro-psychiatric complaints, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), tics and eating disorders.

Despite not knowing what the future holds, the family remain optimistic, mum Alison told the Mirror: "There are some studies that suggest children grow out of PANDAS when they reach puberty, because the immune system matures. But there is a lack of research, so we really don't know. There's still a long way to go in terms of getting this illness properly recognised

"We take each day as it comes but we do feel hopeful.

"Jack's missed out on two years of his childhood, but throughout it he has been really strong and brave. Whatever life throws at him now he will be able to handle it.

"Now I am joining forces with the charity PANS PANDAS UK - who have been an amazing source of support and advice to us - to raise awareness of the illness.

"I want other parents to be aware of the conditions PANS and PANDAS, so that, if their child suddenly develops these symptoms or changes in personality they see their GP immediately, and get antibiotics as soon as possible so that, hopefully, they can avoid all this pain."

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