Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
- 13 Jun 2022
- 4 min read
Why in News?
Recently, Pop singer Justin Bieber has been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, also known as Herpes Zoster Oticus, is a virus infection of the geniculate ganglion (7th cranial nerve) of the facial nerve that occurs when a shingles infection affects the facial nerve.
- When the nerves get inflamed, they lose their ability to function, leading to temporary facial palsy or paralysis.
- 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.
- Only about five to 10 out of every 1,00,000 people will develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome every year, making it an extremely rare disorder.
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is caused by reactivation of varicella zoster virus that has previously caused chickenpox and shingles in the patient.
- This virus belongs to the herpesvirus group and can stay in the body as a latent infection.
- Varicella Zoster Virus can get reactivated due to weakening of the immune system.
- The disease is not contagious but can lead to chickenpox in those not vaccinated for the disease.
- It begins with a reddish patch which may inflame into a persistent rash. Sometimes the rash gets into the eardrum, ear canal, ear lobe, tongue, and roof of the mouth on the side with the affected nerve.
- Antiviral therapies and corticosteroids (anti-inflammatory drug) are commonly used to treat the condition.