Singer Justin Bieber announced on Instagram Friday that he has Ramsay Hunt syndrome, a diagnosis more commonly seen in older adults that's left him partially paralyzed in the face.
"It is from this virus that attacks the nerve in my ear and my facial nerves and has caused my face to have paralysis," he said. "As you can see, this eye is not blinking. I can't smile on this side of my face. This nostril will not move."
Bieber has canceled upcoming performances.
"This is pretty serious as you can see," Bieber said. "I wish this wasn't the case but obviously my body is telling me I have to slow down. I hope you guys understand and I'll be using this time to just rest and relax and get back to 100 percent so I can do what I was born to do."
According to the Mayo Clinic, Ramsay Hunt syndrome is caused by the same virus behind the chicken pox.
Here’s what to know about the singer's medical condition.
What is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
Ramsay Hunt syndrome occurs when shingles impact the nerves in the face, specifically near the ears. The Mayo Clinic says the syndrome can cause facial paralysis and hearing loss.
The syndrome is caused by the same virus that causes the chicken pox, varicella-zoster. For those who've had the chicken pox, the virus continues to live in the nerves, even after the condition resolves, according to the Mayo Clinic.
What Are the Symptoms?
The primary signs of Ramsay Hunt syndrome are a red rash with blisters near one ear and weakness or paralysis in the face, on the same side as the affected ear, the Mayo Clinic says.
Those with the condition may also experience ear pain, hearing loss, ringing in the ears and have difficulty closing one eye.
Some patients may also experience vertigo, or a spinning sensation.
What Causes Ramsay Hunt Syndrome?
The condition is caused by varicella-zoster, the virus that also causes the chicken pox and shingles.
The biggest “risk factors,” according to Healthline, are previously having the chicken pox, being over 60, and having a weakened immune systems.
The syndrome is considered rare in children.
How is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Treated?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the virus is normally treated with antiviral medications, pain relievers and corticosteroids, like prednisone.
The clinic says immediate treatment will lower the chances of long-term complications and improve pain caused by the condition.
Is Ramsay Hunt Syndrome Curable?
“If there is not much damage to the nerve, you should get better completely within a few weeks. If damage is more severe, you may not fully recover, even after several months,” according to New York’s Mount Sinai Hospital.
The hospital says recovery chances are better if you begin treatment within three days of initial symptoms.