Elmhurst…..State Representative Deanne M. Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) recently was tasked to advise the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on the latest research, diagnosis, treatment options and education options involving children suffering from pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcal infections (“PANDAS”). Mazzochi’s addition to the bipartisan panel adds her in-depth knowledge of various drugs used to target autoimmune diseases; Mazzochi has considerable familiarity with the health risks associated with bacterial infections; she was the chief legislative sponsor of HB 3264, designed to reduce the incidence and risk of staphylococcal and MRSA infections amongst patients during hospital stays.
“Streptococcal bacterial infections, which cause strep throat, are incredibly common in children. They can trigger horrible responses without correct and timely treatment. One of them are PANDAs, which result when the staph bacteria covers itself with proteins that mimics the shape of ones in your own body, and tricks your immune system into targeting your body’s healthy cells. It can be very difficult for doctors and families to get the right diagnosis for children suffering from PANDAs. I look forward to identifying ways to improve our children’s clinical outcomes, and identifying legislation needed to put those goals into practice.”
The legislature formed the PANDAS advisory council “after a DuPage County family struggled with securing proper access to the medicine and treatments they needed to help their suffering child,” said Mazzochi. “No family should have to endure this; if anything, we should be opening doors to the latest medical advancements. It is an honor to be asked to serve. I am grateful for the opportunity to help all Illinois families whose children experience these medical complications secure better outcomes; and hopefully find better policies and practices to prevent cases from happening in the future.”
The PANDAS Advisory Council combines lawmakers, medical professionals and family members whose children suffer from PANDAs. Rep. Mazzochi’s private-sector legal work in the life sciences, pharmaceuticals and healthcare arenas, plus her role as a state legislator in DuPage County, brings a valuable mix of medical and lawmaking perspectives to the Council.