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Ramsay Hunt Syndrome in a 3-Month-Old Infant


Address correspondence to Dimitrios Balatsouras, 23 Achaion Street – Ag. Paraskevi, Athens 15343, Greece, or e-mail:


Abstract:  Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a disorder characterized by herpetic eruptions on the auricle, facial paralysis, and vestibulocochlear dysfunction, and is attributed to varicella zoster virus infection in the geniculate ganglion. Although it is a common cause of acute peripheral facial paralysis, children are not usually affected. We describe Ramsay Hunt syndrome in a 3-month-old infant who was referred because of a 2-day-old appearance of herpetic blisters on the right auricle and along the distribution of the right facial nerve. His mother had been infected with chickenpox during the second trimester of pregnancy. The infant presented with right facial palsy and was anxious, but had no fever. Otoscopy revealed herpetic eruptions in the right ear canal. Otoacoustic emissions were absent in the right ear and auditory brainstem responses confirmed moderate sensorineural hearing loss. Appropriate treatment resulted in slight improvement after the first week and complete recovery within 4 months. Infection with varicella zoster virus was proved by a significant increase in the serum anti-varicella zoster virus antibody titer during the convalescent phase of the disease.