Ramsay Hunt syndrome: A herpes virus infection of the geniculate nerve ganglion that causes paralysis of the facial muscles on the same side of the face as the infection. The geniculate ganglion is a sensory ganglion associated with the VIIth cranial nerve.
The syndrome is named for the pre-eminent 20th-century American neurologist James Ramsay Hunt (1872-1937). One common error in writing his name is to spell Ramsay as Ramsey and another common error is to put a hyphen between the Ramsay and the Hunt. There is none.
There are three variations or types of Ramsay Hunt syndromes, including:
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome I: A disorder characterized by myoclonus and signs of cerebellar dysfunction, especially intention tremor and ataxia, and occasional tonic-clonic seizures. Also known as myoclonus and ataxia. Described by Ramsay Hunt in 1921.
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome II: This is far and away the best known syndrome associated with Ramsay Hunt's name. It is due to a herpes
virus infection of the geniculate nerve ganglion that causes paralysis of the
facial muscles on the same side of the face as the infection.
- Ramsay Hunt syndrome III: Occupational compression neuritis of the deep palmar branch of the ulnar nerve.