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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 (VZV), which is the virus that causes chickenpox. Shingles occurs in people who have had chickenpox and represents a reactivation of the dormant VZV . Herpes zoster oticus, which is caused by the spread of VZV 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), tinnitus (abnormal sounds), taste loss in the tongue, dry mouth, and dry eyes.

This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

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