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 Ramsay Hunt syndrome is usually associated with a rash -- vesicles or tiny water- filled bumps -- in or around the ear and sometimes also on the roof of the mouth. Ramsay Hunt syndrome is usually more painful than Bell's palsy and the prognosis for Ramsey Hunt syndrome is usually not as good as that for Bell's palsy.
There is good clinical evidence to suggest that treatment with steroids and antiviral agents (such as acyclovir) can lessen the pain and improve the prospect of recovery.
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.