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Diseases & Conditions

Herpes Zoster Oticus

(Also Called 'Herpes Zoster Oticus')

What is Herpes Zoster Oticus?

Herpes zoster oticus, also called Ramsay Hunt Syndrome or Ramsay Hunt Syndrome type II, 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. Herpes zoster oticus, which is caused by the spread of the varicella-zoster virus to facial nerves, is characterized by intense ear pain, a rash around the ear, mouth, face, neck, and scalp, and paralysis of facial nerves. Other symptoms may include hearing loss, vertigo (abnormal sensation of movement), and tinnitus (abnormal sounds). Taste loss in the tongue and dry mouth and eyes may also occur.

Is there any treatment?

Some cases of herpes zoster oticus do not require treatment. When treatment is needed, medications such as antiviral drugs or corticosteroids may be prescribed. Vertigo may be treated with the drug diazepam

What is the prognosis?

Generally, the prognosis of herpes zoster oticus is good. However, in some cases, hearing loss may be permanent. Vertigo may last for days or weeks. Facial paralysis may be temporary or permanent.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on shingles and shingles-related conditions. Current studies focus on the relationship between the persistence of neurotropic viruses and development of neurological diseases including herpes simplex and varicella-zoster viruses.

Organizations

National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD)
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
31 Center Drive, MSC 2320
Bethesda, MD 20892-2320
nidcdinfo@nidcd.nih.gov
www.nidcd.nih.gov
Tel: 301.496.7243/800.241.1044 800.241.1055 (TTD/TTY)

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 1968
(55 Kenosia Avenue)
Danbury, CT 06813-1968
orphan@rarediseases.org
www.rarediseases.org
Tel: 203.744.0100 Voice Mail 800.999.NORD (6673)
Fax: 203.798.2291

Office of Rare Diseases
National Institutes of Health, DHHS
6100 Executive Blvd., 3B01, MSC 7518
Bethesda, MD 20892-7518
rarediseases.info.nih.gov
Tel: 301.402.4336

Source: National Institutes of Health; National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 2/14/2011...#6093