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Varicella-zoster virus reactivation from multiple ganglia: a case report.

INTRODUCTION: Simultaneous involvements of multiple cranial nerve ganglia (geniculate ganglion and peripheral ganglia of cranial nerves VIII, IX and X) by varicella-zoster virus and its subsequent activation may result in the characteristic eruptions of herpes zoster cephalicus. Coexistence of facial palsy and involvement of upper cervical dermatomes by varicella-zoster virus is quite rare.

CASE PRESENTATION: Here, we report a 71-year-old Iranian man with involvement of multiple sensory ganglia (geniculate ganglion and upper dorsal root ganglia) by varicella-zoster virus. He presented with right-sided facial weakness along with vesicular eruptions on the right side of his neck, and second and third cervical dermatomes.

CONCLUSION: The present case is an example of herpes zoster cephalicus with cervical nerve involvement. Although resembling Ramsay Hunt syndrome with presence of facial nerve paralysis and accompanying vesicles, involvement of cervical dermatomes is not a feature of the classic Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

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