Herpes Zoster Oticus (RHS)| definition,causes, symptoms and treatment

Herpes Zoster Oticus is also known as "Ramsay Hunt syndrome (RHS)" and it is a viral infection that attacks the nerves in the face, around the ear leading to severe pain.

Causes of Ramsay Hunt syndrome:

This disease is caused by neurotropic varicella-zoster virus,which affects the geniculate ganglion (nerve ganglion) and the inner ear.
It is the same virus that causes chickenpox.
It usually affects people at old age 60+.

Clinical picture (symptoms and signs):

  • Severe ear pain (otalgia).
  • Fluid-filled blisters inside or around the ear.
  • Symptoms of facial nerve paralysis (Inability to close one eye, inability to smile, ...etc).
  • Sensorineural hearing loss in the affected ear, which can become permanent.
  • Changes in taste up to loss of taste.

Treatment of Herpes Zoster Oticus

  • Systemic antiviral like Acyclovir.
  • Systemic Steroids "Cortisone" to prevent post herpetic neuralgia.
  • Analgesics.
  • Infection usually disappears within a couple of weeks.

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