Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS) is a rare neurological disorder characterized by paralysis of the facial nerve (facial palsy) and a rash affecting the ear or mouth. Ear abnormalities such as ringing in the ears (tinnitus) and hearing loss may also be present. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the varicella zoster virus (VZV), the same virus that causes chickenpox in children and shingles (herpes zoster) in adults. In cases of Ramsay Hunt syndrome, previously inactive (dormant) varicella-zoster virus is reactivated and spreads to affect the facial nerve.
Several different names have been used to denote this disorder in the medical literature often causing confusion. The disorder is named after James Ramsay Hunt, a physician who first described the disorder in 1907. Year agos, more than one disorder bore the designation Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Ramsay-Hunt syndrome is now used to denote the disorder described in this report. The disorder is also sometimes known as herpes zoster oticus because of the characteristic ear rash. However, some physicians use herpes zostic oticus only for the ear rash and Ramsay Hunt syndrome for the combination of ear rash and facial paralysis.
American Pain Society
4700 West Lake Avenue
Glenview, IL 60025
National Shingles Foundation
603 West 115 ST
New York, NY 10025
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Center for Peripheral Neuropathy
University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
American Academy of Audiology
11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190
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Last Updated: 2/4/2011
Copyright 2005, 2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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