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J Med Case Rep. 2011 Aug 15;5:376. doi: 10.1186/1752-1947-5-376.

Full recovery of a 13-year-old boy with pediatric Ramsay Hunt syndrome using a shorter course of aciclovir and steroid at lower doses: a case report.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Mpilo Central Hospital, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.



Reports on children with Ramsay Hunt syndrome are limited in the literature, resulting in uncertainty regarding the clinical manifestations and outcome of this syndrome. Treatment for Ramsay Hunt syndrome is usually with antivirals, although there is no evidence for beneficial effect on the outcome of Ramsay Hunt syndrome in adults (insufficient data on children exists). Here, we report a case of Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurring in a child who inadvertently received a lower dose of aciclovir and steroid administered for shorter than is usual. Our patient made a full recovery.


A 13-year-old African boy presented to our out-patients department with an inability to move the right side of his face for one week. He had previously been seen by the doctor on call, who prescribed aciclovir 200 mg three times per day and prednisone 20 mg once daily, both orally for five days, with a working diagnosis of Bell's palsy. After commencement of aciclovir-prednisone, while at home, our patient had headache, malaise, altered taste, vomiting after feeds, a ringing sound in his right ear as well as earache and ear itchiness. Additionally, he developed numerous fluid-filled pimples on his right ear. On presentation, a physical examination revealed a right-sided lower motor neuron facial nerve palsy and a healing rash on the right pinna. On direct questioning, our patient admitted having had chicken pox about three months previously. Based on the history and physical examination, Ramsay Hunt syndrome was diagnosed. Our patient was lost to follow-up until 11 months after the onset of illness; at this time, his facial nerve function was normal.


This case report documents the clinical manifestations and outcome of pediatric Ramsay Hunt syndrome; a condition with few case reports in the literature. In addition, our patient made a full recovery despite inadvertently receiving a lower dose of aciclovir and steroid administered for shorter than is usual.

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