An eight-year-old boy was left ‘possessed’ after a throat infection triggered a strange condition which caused him to have random outburst, laughing fits and tics.
Jack MacLaine, now 10, began complaining of a sore throat in January 2018, but when the symptoms died down his parents thought nothing of it.
A few days later the normally-outgoing youngster, from Dumfries, refused to go to football training when he was overcome with anxiety.
His parents Alison, 44, and Neil, 64, were baffled when he told them he ‘didn’t deserve friends’ and was ‘going to take his clothes off and sit outside until he froze to death’.
The youngster’s behaviour became increasingly erratic over four months, during which time he held a knife to his throat and told his parents he wanted to ‘go to heaven’.
He was eventually diagnosed with PANDAS syndrome, an overreaction by the immune system to a bacterial infection.
It results in infection-killing antibodies attacking brain cells, causing a variety of erratic behavioural changes, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and tics.
Jack MacLaine, 10, from Dumfries, refused to go to football training one Saturday when he was overcome with anxiety. He later came home and said he ‘wanted to die’
Mother Alison, 44, said Jack ‘changed overnight’ in January 2018
Jack’s PANDAS has affected the whole family. His sister, Cara (pictured), has become wary of the big brother she once so adored, Mrs MacLaine said
Jack’s mother said: ‘He was a really sociable eight-year-old. He loved playing football, doing gymnastics, martial arts and being with his friends.
‘But in January 2018 that changed overnight.’
Children with PANDAS 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.
The first signs something was wrong with Jack was a on a normal Saturday when he was playing football.
Mrs MacLaine said: ‘When we got back in the car to go home, he just kept apologising over and over. He was saying, “I do not deserve to have friends,” and, “I do not deserve to play football”.
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Share 478 shares ‘Then that became, “I do not deserve to live”. He said, “When we get home I’m going to take my clothes off and sit outside until I freeze to death”.
‘We were really shocked as he’d never said anything like it before. We were asking him if something had happened.
‘We thought maybe when he’d been out playing that a bigger person had done something awful to him.
‘He kept saying that nothing had happened and he couldn’t explain why he felt like that.
‘There was one moment when he was jumping up and down on my neck laughing this evil laugh and when he spoke it was like it wasn’t his voice. It was as if he was possessed.’
That night he kept asking his horrified parents why they would not help him to die.
Jack’s behaviour became increasingly erratic over four months, during which time he held a knife to his throat and told his parents he wanted to ‘go to heaven’
Mrs MacLaine said doctors at the child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) thought her son might have autism but it was so sudden it didn’t make sense
The following day, his parents discovered a note he had written saying: Hunter hundeseng ‘I’m really sorry I don’t want to live anymore. I want to be in heaven.’