Justin Bieber revealed on Friday that he is suffering from Ramsay Hunt Syndrome (RHS). The rare viral condition is caused by *varicella-zoster, the same virus that causes chickenpox, and shingles..
The Grammy award-winning artist took to social media to tell fans that his condition was “pretty serious,” and forced him to cancel his American tour until further notice.
“I am just physically not capable of doing them. This is pretty serious … I wish this wasn’t the case but obviously my body is telling me that I have got to slow down,” he said.
‘Okay, to not be okay’
Bieber’s tour was expected to conclude in July. “I will be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to 100% so that I can do what I was born to do. But in the meantime, ‘this ain’t it.’ I have got to go and get my rest on so I can get my face back to where it is supposed to be.”
Bieber is expected to hit stages globally with a World Tour that includes Mzansi from August.
The “Sorry” Canadian hitmaker first shot to fame in 2008 and has sold an estimated 150 million records worldwide.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
According to Mount Sinai, a New York-based health system, Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is a rare neurological disorder characterised by the paralysis of facial nerves.
The reason why the virus reactivates and affects the facial nerve in Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is unknown, notes Canadian emergency physician, Dr Daniel Kim.
Ramsay Hunt Syndrome is most common in older adults aged 60 and up.
Kim adds that the facial muscles affected by nerve palsy may be weak or feel stiff and may result in the inability of affected individuals to smile, wrinkle the forehead or close their eye on the affected side. “In some cases, speech may become slurred.”
He tells patient advocacy group, NORD Rare Disease Centers of Excellence, “The symptoms of Ramsay Hunt syndrome vary from case to case. Affected individuals usually experience paralysis (palsy) of the facial nerve and a rash affecting the ear. These two symptoms do not always occur simultaneously. In most cases, only one side of the face is affected (unilateral).”
What are the causes of RHS?
According to Facial Palsy, a United Kingdom charity organisation that supports patients with facial paralysis, RHS occurs when our immune systems weaken leaving the body vulnerable to the reactivation of the chickenpox virus.
Stress is also a known trigger of the virus.
According to experts at Facial Palsy, “Many studies have shown that stress can weaken the immune system, and that people under significant stress are more likely to suffer from infections than those who are not. For this reason, it is believed that stress can be linked to outbreaks of shingles, and thus RHS could result.”
Six things you should know about Ramsay Hunt Syndrome:
- The nerve disorder is named after James Ramsay Hunt, a physician who first described the disorder in 1907.
- You cannot catch RHS from an infected person.
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome affecting children is extremely rare.
- The disorder is also sometimes known as herpes zoster oticus because of the characteristic ear rash.
- The more severe the damage, the longer it will take to recover, and the lower the chance that you will completely regain normal function.
- Ramsay Hunt Syndrome affects males and females in equal numbers. According to one estimate, 5 out of every 100 000 people develop Ramsay Hunt Syndrome each year in the United States.
Health For Mzansi’s: Word of the Day
*Varicella-zoster: According to the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), varicella-zoster is the technical term for chickenpox. It is a herpesvirus that is known to cause chickenpox and shingles.