Ramsay Hunt Syndrome: What is the rare disorder Justin Bieber has been diagnosed with?

It is caused by the same virus behind chickenpox and shingles

By Web Desk

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Published: Sat 11 Jun 2022, 11:07 AM

Last updated: Sat 11 Jun 2022, 12:17 PM

On Friday, popstar Justin Bieber posted a video on Instagram informing fans that he has Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, a medical condition that causes facial paralysis.

Here is all you need to know about the syndrome - the causes, symptoms, risks, and treatments.

How is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome caused?

The same virus (varicella-zoster virus) that causes chickenpox and shingles is responsible for the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.

This virus remains dormant in a person's body even after recovery from either of the diseases. However, in some rare cases, the virus can become active again and can irritate facial nerves.

The nerves in the face are quite narrow. This means that any kind of inflammation immediately restricts movement, causing facial paralysis.

What are the symptoms?

The following are the most common symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome:

1. Facial paralysis

2. Ear pain

3. Vesicles (painful rashes filled with fluid - this is often the first symptom)

4. Dysarthria (speech issues such as slurring)

5. Dry eyes and tearing

6. Hearing issues such as hyperacusis (hearing sounds louder than they are)

7. Nasal obstruction

8. Change in taste

What are the risks involved?

The symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome are not distinctive and can be confused with other illnesses that cause facial paralysis, such as Bell’s Palsy.

The rash by the ear is more definitive than the other symptoms. Doctors often study the fluid that fills the rash to make the final diagnosis. Physical exams are needed to make a decisive diagnosis.

Most people who suffer from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome can recover completely in a few months. However in some cases it can cause permanent hearing loss and eye damage.

How can Ramsay Hunt Syndrome be treated?

This syndrome is generally treated with a combination of antiviral medications and corticosteroids. Anxiety medication and pain killers are sometimes given to the patient to ease the treatment process.


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