International pop sensation Justin Bieber has gone viral, but not in a good way. The singer took to his Instagram on Friday and uploaded a three-minute video announcing that he is currently suffering from a rare (and usually reversible) condition known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome.
With a caption reading “IMPORTANT PLEASE WATCH. I love you guys and keep me in your prayers,” Bieber, looking understandably downbeat, explained that he had caught a virus that attacked the nerves in his ear and face, causing some paralysis. He demonstrated that his right eye is not blinking, he cannot smile on the right side of his face, and he can’t move his right nostril.
He apologized for canceling his upcoming shows but explained that he is not physically capable at the present time. “This is pretty serious, as you can see,” he added. “I wish this wasn’t the case, but obviously my body is telling me I’ve got to slow down. I hope you guys understand.”
He said he’d be using the time to “rest and relax and get to 100 percent, so I can do what I was born to do.” He added, “I gotta get my rest on, so that I can get my face back to where it’s supposed to be.”
He concluded that he would get better, but it will take time, and this was “all for a reason” even if he wasn’t sure what that reason was right now.
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As per CBS News, Ramsay Hunt syndrome is a rare neurological disorder, caused by the same virus that causes shingles and chickenpox. Only five people per 100,000 are estimated to contract the syndrome in a given year. It causes a rash in the ear that can spread to facial paralysis. Depending on the severity of the nerve damage, full recovery usually occurs after a few weeks of drug treatment. There are cases, however, where the syndrome can cause permanent hearing and vision loss.
The Mayo Clinic’s website notes that the syndrome affects people who had chickenpox earlier in life, and warns that the condition can lead to a lengthy and painful bout of neuralgia (nerve pain) that may linger after other symptoms of the condition have faded. It is most common in people over the age of 60.
Earlier in the week, Bieber announced cancellations of three upcoming shows, including a Toronto gig not too far from his hometown of Stratford, Ontario. In late February, he canceled a Las Vegas appearance when he contracted COVID-19.
Originally published in Vanityfair.com
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