Overview

Ramsay Hunt syndrome (herpes zoster oticus) occurs when a shingles outbreak affects the facial nerve near one of your ears. In addition to the painful shingles rash, Ramsay Hunt syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss in the affected ear.

Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox. After chickenpox clears, the virus lies dormant in your nerves. Years later, it may reactivate. If the virus reactivates and affects your facial nerve, the result is Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

Prompt treatment of Ramsay Hunt syndrome can reduce your risk of complications, which can include permanent facial muscle weakness and deafness.

Nov. 01, 2016
References
  1. Kumar Swain S, et al. Management of Ramsay Hunt syndrome among HIV patients: Our experience in a tertiary care hospital of eastern India. Polish Annals of Medicine. 2016;23:92.
  2. Albrecht MA. Clinical manifestations of varicella-zoster virus infection: Herpes zoster. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed July 22, 2016.
  3. Herpes zoster oticus information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/ramsay2/ramsay2.htm. Accessed July 22, 2016.
  4. Shingles (herpes zoster). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/shingles/index.html. Accessed July 22, 2016.
  5. Herpes zoster oticus. Merck Manual Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/ear,-nose,-and-throat-disorders/inner-ear-disorders/herpes-zoster-oticus. Accessed July 22, 2016.