Popular artist Justin Bieber has revealed that a viral disease called the Ramsay Hunt Syndrome has temporarily paralysed one side of his face.


What is it?

  • Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is neurological disease in which a virus – Varicella Zoster – causes inflammation of the nerves involved in facial movements. The Varicella Zoster Virus (VZV) is the same virus that causes chickenpox and shingles.
  • When the nerves get inflamed, they lose their ability to function, leading to temporary facial palsy or paralysis. What it means is that facial muscles in the infected person cannot receive necessary signals to function properly.


How it affects the facial nerves?

  • There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is the viral infection impacting the 7th cranial nerve that is involved in facial movements.
  • The symptoms include painful, red rash and blisters in and around the ear, and facial paralysis on the same side. Patients also report hearing loss in the ear that has been impacted apart from Tinnitus or ringing sounds. Inability to close the eye causes dryness.
  • The disease is not contagious but can lead to chickenpox in those not vaccinated for the disease.
  • It is treated using anti-viral drugs, steroids and physiotherapy. Steroids and anti-viral drugs are the cornerstone of the treatment.