What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? Justin Bieber’s Rare Neurological Disorder Explained

Justin Bieber recently surfaced on the internet because of his facial paralysis due to ramsay hunt syndrome, here are all the details.

Puru Bansal
Written by: Puru BansalPublished at: Jun 13, 2022Updated at: Jun 13, 2022
What Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome? Justin Bieber’s Rare Neurological Disorder Explained

Justin Bieber’s video surfaced on the internet where he says that he has been diagnosed with Ramsay Hunt Syndrome.  The singer explained his condition on Instagram, “As you can see my eye is not blinking, cannot smile on the right side of the face, and my nostril won’t move”. This syndrome occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerves and causes rashes on the face. It can affect some major functions or parts of the body. 

What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

We consulted Dr. Anita Mathew, Infectious Disease Specialist, Fortis Hospital, Mulund and Dr. Pawan Ojha, Senior Consultant-Neurology, Fortis Hiranandani Hospital, Vashi to know more about this condition. It is a rare neurological disorder that causes paralysis of one side of the face, a rash affecting the mouth or ear and usually causes severe pain along the facial nerve supplying the affected part of face.

What Causes Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

The virus that causes chicken pox (zoster virus) affects the person, leading to the syndrome. After suffering from chicken pox in childhood, the virus is known to stay latent in the body and emerge through roots whenever the immune system is depressed. Whenever the body undergoes severe stress, it may trigger the virus. It could even occur due to health problems like diabetes or the body being in an immuno-compromise state.

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Symptoms of Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

While most patients may experience facial paralysis and rash in the affected ear, the symptoms may vary person to person.

  • In ability to smile
  • Not able to close the eye of the affected area
  • Severe pain on the outer part of the ear
  • The ear pain spreading to the neck
  • Ringing in the ear
  • Hearing loss, in the affected ear
  • Hearing deficit
  • Painful red rash with fluid-filled blisters, inside the ear and around it
  • Vertigo - spinning or making off balance
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Change in taste

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Diagnosis- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

Multiple tests have to be done to make sure that the person is infected with the virus. First, the medical history of a person is checked to know if the person has been  infected with chickenpox in the past. A Physical examination is conducted to know about the rate of severity of the neurological condition. A nerve conduction test takes place to diagnose ramsay hunt syndrome and then tissue or fluid samples will be taken of the affected area to confirm the diagnosis. 

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Treatment

It can be treated with antivirals, steroids, physiotherapy, and medicines that help in reducing neurological pain. If not treated in time, a person may suffer from permanent facial weakness, disfigurement, and sometimes hearing loss. Also, in regard to the affected eye, as the eyelids at times do not close, it might damage the cornea, leading to blurred vision. Hence, use of lubricants can help protect the eye. Healing of the virus takes about 6 weeks to 3 months.

Also Read- Smokers At Risk Of These 5 Brain Disorders Amid Covid-19

Can You Prevent Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?

The virus is not contagious so an infected person cannot pass it on to another. The only known prevention is to be vaccinated against chickenpox as that will reduce chances of getting infected with the virus. Zoster vaccines are given in elderly and immunocompromised individuals to reduce the chance of getting shingles.

Picture Credits- freepik.com

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