Ramsay Hunt Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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Important
It is possible that the main title of the report Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is not the name you expected.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

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.

Supporting Organizations

American Academy of Audiology

11480 Commerce Park Drive
Suite 220
Reston, VA 20191
Tel: 703-790-8466
Fax: 703-790-8631
Tel: 800-222-2336
Email: infoaud@audiology.org
Website: http://www.audiology.org

American Pain Society

8735 W. Higgins Road
Suite 300
Chicago, IL 60631
Tel: 847.375.4715
Email: info@americanpainsociety.org
Website: http://www.ampainsoc.org

Center for Peripheral Neuropathy

University of Chicago
5841 South Maryland Ave, MC 2030
Chicago, IL 60637
Tel: (773)702-5659
Fax: (773)702-5577
Website: http://peripheralneuropathycenter.uchicago.edu/

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
Website: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

National Shingles Foundation

603 West 115 ST
Suite 371
New York, NY 10025
Tel: (212)222-3390
Fax: (212)222-8627
Tel: (800)472-8478
Email: Shingles@ShinglesFoundation.org
Website: http://www.vzvfoundation.org

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report.

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

Last Updated:  2/4/2011
Copyright  2011 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.