Bell’s palsy onboard: a case report of a very common disease in a special setting

Document Type : Case Report


Department of Emergency and Critical Care Medicine, Aizawa Hospital, Nagano, Japan


Introduction: Cruises are one of the major travel industries worldwide and a variety of medical issues can happen onboard. This is a case report of peripheral facial nerve palsy in an elderly man with diabetes treated onboard a world cruise ship.

Case Presentation: A 78-year-old man presented to the infirmary due to difficulty closing his left eye during a 105-day world voyage. The patient was in a good general health and had a history of hypertension and diabetes mellitus (treated by dietary intervention). He was diagnosed with severe Bell’s palsy by history and physical examination and treated with prednisolone and valacyclovir without any complications and a near-complete recovery. The possibility of misdiagnosis and deterioration of diabetes mellitus due to the corticosteroid treatment was explained to the patient.

Conclusion: When it comes to medical management in a resource-limited setting like cruise ships, passenger physicians trained in a wide variety of illnesses are crucial. It is important to explain to patients the prognosis and expected outcome of the medical condition. Emergency medical evacuation may be warranted in certain cases.


Articles in Press, Accepted Manuscript
Available Online from 17 October 2021
  • Receive Date: 20 July 2021
  • Revise Date: 04 October 2021
  • Accept Date: 11 October 2021