What are possible infectious etiologies for Bell palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis) (IFP)?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Danette C Taylor, DO, MS, FACN; Chief Editor: Selim R Benbadis, MD  more...
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Besides HSV infection, possible etiologies for Bell palsy include other infections (eg, herpes zoster, Lyme disease, syphilis, Epstein-Barr viral infection, cytomegalovirus, human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], mycoplasma); inflammation alone; and microvascular disease (diabetes mellitus and hypertension). Bell palsy has also been known to follow recent upper respiratory infection (URI). [19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24]

Bell palsy may be secondary to viral and/or autoimmune reactions that cause the facial nerve to demyelinate, resulting in unilateral facial paralysis.

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