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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome:

Pop sensation Justin Bieber revealed that a viral disease called the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome has temporarily paralysed one side of his face.

  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is neurological disease in which a virus – Varicella Zoster – causes inflammation of the nerves involved in facial movements. The Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles.
  • When the nerves get inflamed, they lose their ability to function, leading to temporary facial palsy or paralysis.
  • Facial muscles in the infected person cannot receive necessary signals to function properly.
  • There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is the viral infection impacting the 7th cranial nerve that is involved in facial movements.
  • The symptoms include painful, red rash and blisters in and around the ear, and facial paralysis on the same side.
  • Patients also report hearing loss in the ear that has been impacted apart from Tinnitus or ringing sounds. Inability to close the eye causes dryness.
  • The disease is not contagious but can lead to chickenpox in those not vaccinated for the disease.
  • It is treated using anti-viral drugs, steroids and physiotherapy. Steroids and anti-viral drugs are the cornerstone of the treatment.