Ramsay Hunt syndrome: what is this shingles that Justin Bieber suffers from?

Pop star Justin Bieber has announced that he has Ramsay Hunt Syndrome. Symptoms include facial paralysis and a rash on the ear. It is a form of auricular shingles. Definition, causes, healing, treatment: discovery.

Known in France as Sicard syndromethe Ramsay Hunt syndrome been talked about since the singer justin bieber revealed to be affected on his Instagram account. This is a auricular shingles. This rare condition is generally observed in sub-Saharan Africa. She causes a facial paralysis (which resembles Bell’s palsy) and skin rashes the ear. Definition, causessymptoms, healing, Pictures and treatment. What we know.

Definition: what is Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Ramsay-Hunt syndrome or “herpes zoster oticus” is a form auricular shingles which corresponds to a reactivation of the varicella zoster virus (VZV) in the sensory ganglion cells of the facial nerve. It thus concerns patients who have had a primary infection of varicella. Discovered in 1907 by neurologist Ramsay Hunt which gave it its name, the syndrome is manifested by facial nerve palsy (facial paralysis) and a rash on the ear or mouth. Facial paralysis can cause an inability to smile, wrinkle the forehead, or close the eyes on the affected side. Speech may also be hampered.

Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome © Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry

What causes Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

the varicella zoster virus (VZV) causes Ramsay-Hunt syndrome. “Primary infection with VZV usually produces varicella, after which the virus becomes latent (it remains quiescent) in the neurons of the cranial nerve ganglia“say the authors of the study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry in 2001. Reactivation of VZV causes Ramsay-Hunt syndrome and usually occurs in a context of immune weakness : physical and/or emotional stressafter organ or bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, HIV infection…

What are the symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

Among the symptoms are:

Erythema and skin vesicles in the right Ramsay Hunt area
Erythema and skin vesicles in the right Ramsay Hunt area © National Library of Medicine
  • A paralysis facial (resembling Bell’s syndrome paralysis)
  • Severe ear pain
  • Of the fever (flu-like symptoms)
  • A hearing loss
  • Of the tinnitus
  • Of the nausea
  • Of the vomiting
  • Of the dizziness
  • Of the nystagmus (involuntary rhythmic oscillation of one or both eyes)
  • Of the ear blisters/rashes (painful fluid-filled blisters)

A clinical examination with the patient’s neurological history can put doctors on the trail of Ramsay Hunt syndrome. In order to differentiate it from Bell’s palsy, the doctor can carry out a Herpes zoster and varicella virus PCR. Ramsay Hunt syndrome can also be detected by increased presence of antibodies against VZV.

Is the total cure of Ramsay’s syndrome possible?

“At the prognostic level, the evolution of Ramsay Hunt syndrome is in generally favorable. However, cochleo-vestibular complications, in particular hearing loss have been reported by some authors with an incidence of hearing disorders varying between 19.7% and 85%. This shows the importance of close collaboration between infectious disease specialist, dermatologist and ENT specialist in order to establish the diagnosis and treat this condition and its complications early.“conclude the researchers of the article published in the COSA-CMF journal in February 2020.

What is the treatment for Ramsay Hunt syndrome?

The recommended treatment is based on the association between aciclovir and corticosteroids. Studies have shown a significant improvement in the condition of patients treated with prednisone and acyclovir within three days of illness onset” report the researchers of the study published in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry in 2001.


– Ramsay Hunt syndrome: a case observed in a subject infected with the human immunodeficiency virus in Abidjan, Revue du COSA-CMF, February 19, 2020

– Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, The Pan African Medical Journal, October 21, 2015

– Ramsay Hunt Syndrome, The Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry August 1, 2001

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