What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? | Symptoms, Causes & Prevention


Music superstar Justin Bieber announced Friday that he had been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a rare neurological disorder.

“It is from this virus that attacks the nerves in my ear, my facial nerves, and has caused my face to have paralysis,” Bieber said in a video posted to Instagram.

The 28-year-old musician was forced to cancel three appearances this week on his Justice World Tour. “Obviously, my body is telling me I gotta slow down,” he said.

So what exactly is the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? Let’ see what experts has to say about this.

What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After chickenpox clears up, the virus still lives in your nerves. Years later, it may reactivate, and when it does, it can affect your facial nerves.

Prompt treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome can reduce the risk of complications, which can include permanent facial muscle weakness and deafness.

Symptoms Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
  • Facial paralysis
  • Blisters in and around the ear or mouth
  • Pain in the ear
  • Dry mouth and eyes
  • Loss of taste in part of the tongue

If the vestibulocochlear nerve is affected, it causes:

  • Hearing Loss
  • Vertigo, dizziness
  • Ringing in the ears

Causes Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

  • It is caused by the reactivation of varicella-zoster virus (chickenpox virus) in the bundle of facial nerve fibres called a geniculate ganglion.
  • The virus can exist in a dormant form for years after recovery from chickenpox and cause a shingles outbreak.
  • The risk factors include:
  • Newborns
  • Pregnant women
  • The person not affected with chickenpox or not taken chickenpox vaccination
  • Weakened immunity

Prevention Of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Get vaccination against the herpes-zoster virus if you have not already had chickenpox.

Complications Of Ramsay hunt syndrome

If untreated for a prolonged period, it may lead to

  • Permanent hearing loss and facial weakness
  • Eye damage
  • Post herpetic neuralgia

Credit: Mayo Clinic

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