Ramsay Hunt's syndrome II

Related people

Cephalic herpes zoster, cephalic zoster syndrome, geniculate ganglion syndrome, geniculate neuralgia, geniculate syndrome, herpes zoster articularis, herpes zoster oticus, herpes zoster syndrome.

Description

Unilateral herpes zoster infection of the geniculate ganglion (respectively n. Intermedius) with lesions of the external ear and oral mucosa. The symptoms include facial paralysis, severe pain in the ear with a bloody serous discharge due to vesicles on the tympanic membrane. The face is paralysed on the affected side, and there is loss of sense of taste in the anterior two-thirds of the tongue on the affected side. Other features include decreased salivation, hoarseness, tinnitus, decreased lacrimation, hearing disorder, and vertigo. Rare in children but seen commonly in the elderly population, with equal distribution between men and women. It is not contagious.

It is a common complication of shingles. Shingles is an infection caused by the varicella-zoster virus, which is the virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox and represents a reactivation of the dormant varicella-zoster virus. Ramsay Hunt syndrome II is caused by the spread of the varicella-zoster virus to facial nerves.

Ramsay Hunt in 1907 first described this combination of symptoms as a syndrome. He separated between 4 forms:
1) herpes zoster without neuralgic signs;
2) herpes zoster oticus with facial paresis;
3) herpes zoster oticus with facial paresis and hearing symptoms
4) Ramsay Hunt syndrome - auricular herpes zoster syndrome.

Bibliography

  • J. R. Hunt:
    On herpetic inflammation of the geniculate ganglion: a new syndrome and its complications.
    The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, Baltimore, 1907, 34: 73-96.

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