The surge of Bell’s palsy in COVID - pandemic era


  • Champion Venkateshalu Srinivas Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  • Safina Kauser Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India
  • Bhavana Sangoli Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, Karnataka, India



Bell’s palsy, COVID19, Novel coronavirus


Background: COVID-19 is declared as a pandemic by WHO. Bell’s palsy is defined as isolated, sudden, peripheral facial paralysis of unknown etiology. Viral infections are capable of causing facial paralysis through infecting the motor neurons of brainstem, seventh nerve ganglia or through infections of supporting cells of the nerve, along with secondary inflammation and oedema, blocking the nerve function. Similarly, coronaviruses are known to have a neuroinvasive propensity.

Methods: Our study was aimed to report the increased number of cases of Bell’s palsy in the current COVID pandemic era and to hypothesize the probable role of coronavirus in the pathogenesis of Bell’s palsy. A total of 30 patients presenting with unilateral facial palsy in this COVID era were included in the study.  

Results: This prospective analysis of Bell’s palsy cases showed 30 cases in the COVID pandemic era, where the total number of OPD patients were 3720. This shows a percentage of Bell’s palsy cases as 0.8 % when compared to 0.05% in the pre-covid time.

Conclusions: This study shows that there might be an effect of COVID-19 virus on the immune status of the individuals along with stress induced reactivation of underlying viral infection.



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Original Research Articles