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Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome

Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome Causes

Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is an infection of the geniculate ganglion of the facial nerve caused by a herpes zoster virus. The disease results when a herpes zoster virus that has previously caused chickenpox is reactivated in the patient. The virus infects the facial nerve that controls the movements of facial muscles, thus causing a paralysis of the facial muscles on the same side of the face. Although Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is not necessarily contagious, the herpes zoster virus contained in its blisters can be transmitted and cause chickenpox in unvaccinated individuals. In general, patients with Ramsay Hunt syndrome are advised to avoid any contact with newborns, pregnant women, immunodepressed individuals, and people with no history of chickenpox, at least until all the blisters change to scabs.

Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome Definition

Ramsay Hunt paralysis syndrome comprises three distinct neurological conditions described by James Ramsay Hunt in early 19th century - Ramsay Hunt syndrome type I, Ramsay Hunt syndrome type II, and Ramsay Hunt syndrome type III.

Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome Diagnosis

Clinical test for common symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome often leads to a diagnosis of the disease. The appearance of painful red rashes, ear and mouth blisters, plus one-sided facial paralysis in patients are often indicative of the condition. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test may be performed on the blister fluids to test for viral genetic materials.

Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome Symptoms and Signs

Signs of Ramsay Hunt syndrome include facial paralysis and the appearance of red painful rashes or blisters in the ears or mouth. Other symptoms include ear pain, a loss of hearing, vertigo or dizziness, dry eye, and changes in taste sensation.

Ramsay Hunt Paralysis Syndrome Treatment

Recent studies indicate that treating Ramsay Hunt syndrome with prednisone and acyclovir shortly (within 3 days) after the onset of symptoms can prove successful. Chances of complete recovery can dramatically decrease if any form of treatment is delayed. On the other hand, current treatment methods cannot recover hearing loss.

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