- Patient Comments: Ramsay Hunt Syndrome - Treatments
- Patient Comments: Ramsay Hunt Syndrome - Symptoms
- What is Ramsay Hunt syndrome? What causes it?
- What are the symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
- How is Ramsay Hunt syndrome diagnosed?
- Is Ramsay Hunt syndrome contagious?
- How does Ramsay Hunt syndrome compare with Bell's palsy?
- How is Ramsay Hunt syndrome treated or prevented?
- What is the outlook (prognosis) for patients with Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
- Where can I find more information about Ramsay Hunt syndrome?
How is Ramsay Hunt syndrome diagnosed?
Diagnosis of the syndrome is most often made by observing the symptoms described above (red painful rash with ear and or mouth blisters and one-sided facial paralysis). Also, a PCR test (polymerase chain reaction) can be performed on the fluid from the blisters to demonstrate the viral genetic material, but this test is not done routinely.
Is Ramsay Hunt syndrome contagious?
The syndrome is not contagious; however, the herpes zoster virus that can be found in the blisters of Ramsay Hunt syndrome can be transmitted to other people and cause chickenpox in those who are unvaccinated against chickenpox and who have never had chickenpox. Individuals with Ramsay Hunt syndrome should avoid contact with newborns, pregnant women, immunodepressed individuals, and people with no history of chickenpox, at least until all the blisters change to scabs.
How does Ramsay Hunt syndrome compare with Bell's palsy?
Bell's palsy also is a result of injury to the facial nerve by a viral infection, but the suspected viral cause of Bell's palsy has not been identified. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the Varicella virus (Herpes zoster) that also causes chickenpox and shingles (a painful, blister-producing Herpes zoster reinfection that usually occurs on one side of the body). There is no red rash associated with Bell's palsy as there is with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Additionally, Ramsay Hunt syndrome is commonly more painful than Bell's palsy. However, both can cause eyelid and mouth paralysis on one side of the face.
Dyssynergia cerebellaris myoclona is a rare degenerative disease of the nerves characterized by epilepsy, muscle spasms, and gradually increasing tremors. Like Bell's palsy, this disease complex mimics many symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Some investigators term the disease complex Ramsay Hunt syndrome type 2.