Bieber tries to smile, blink and move his face during the video for fans, but one side of his face remains motionless as he continues speaking.
“So for those who are frustrated by my cancellations of upcoming shows, physically obviously I can’t do them,” he says. “This is pretty serious, as you can see.”
Bieber says he has been doing facial exercises to try to regain movement, but it will take time for him to recover.
“I wish this wasn’t the case, but obviously my body is telling me to slow down,” he says. “I hope you guys understand, and I’m using this time to kick back and relax and get back to 100% so I can do what I was born to do. But in the meantime, this isn’t it.”
The virus that causes Ramsay Hunt syndrome is called varicella-zoster virus, which belongs to the herpes virus family; it’s the same pathogen behind chickenpox in children and shingles in adults, according to the National Organization for Rare Disorders.
It’s unclear how Bieber contracted the virus, but he may have contracted the germ several years ago during a bout of chicken pox. the The virus, which is not contagious, can lie dormant in your body for years before reactivating. and spreading to a facial nerve near the ear, developing into shingles or, in some cases, Ramsay Hunt syndrome, for unknown reasons.
As with Bieber, people with RHS usually experience some degree of facial paralysis or weakness on one side of the face and a rash on the outside of the ear, although both symptoms are not guaranteed.
Other symptoms that may accompany RHS are ringing in the ears, temporary hearing loss, nausea, vomiting, dry eyes, ear pain, and loss of taste.
The syndrome arises in about 5 of every 100,000 people in the US each year, says the National Organization for Rare Disorders, though its prevalence may be underestimated because cases are often misdiagnosed.
Anyone who has had chickenpox can develop HSR at some point, most likely during adulthood. Most cases occur among older adults; children are rarely affected.
Antiviral medications such as acyclovir or famciclovir, both used to treat herpes virus infections, along with corticosteroids can treat HSR. However, some symptoms can become permanent, such as facial paralysis and hearing loss. Eye drops can help protect the cornea from drying out if people can’t blink, as was the case with Bieber. In her message, she said it was unclear how long it may be before she gets better.
“It’s going to be fine,” says Bieber. “I hope, and I trust in God and I trust that this is all going to happen, it’s all for a reason.”