What is the role of infectious diseases in the etiology of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)?

Updated: May 17, 2018
  • Author: William M Greenberg, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Case reports have been published of OCD with and without tics arising in children and young adults following acute group A streptococcal infections. Fewer reports cite herpes simplex virus as the apparent precipitating infectious event.

It has been hypothesized that these infections trigger a CNS autoimmune response that results in neuropsychiatric symptoms (pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections [PANDAS]). A number of the poststreptococcal cases have reportedly improved following treatment with antibiotics.


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