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Noma is a devastating, gangrenous disease leading to severe tissue destruction in the face and associated with high morbidity and mortality. It is observed almost exclusively in young children living in remote areas of developing countries, particularly Africa.

The exact prevalence of the disease is unknown but it has been conservatively estimated that 770,000 persons are currently affected by noma sequelae. The causal origin remains unknown but a combination of several risk factors have been identified: malnutrition, a compromised immune system, poor oral hygiene and an imbalance in the bacterial oral flora.

Epidemiology, clinical aspects, etiopathogenic theories, treatment of the acute phase and reconstructive surgery for sequelae are reviewed in the article below. Noma may be preventable if recognised at an early stage but further research is required to determine more exactly the causative agents.


Download the complete article "Noma: an "infectious" disease of unknown aetiology" , GESNOMA 2003 [Download]