A Review on Noma: A Recent Update

  •  Nipun Ashok    
  •  Bassel Tarakji    
  •  Shourouk Darwish    
  •  Jean Rodrigues    
  •  Mohammad A. Altamimi    


Noma is a gangrenous infection primarily affecting under developed countries. The aim of this paper was to review all recent articles on noma from January 2003 to August 2014 and briefly update the latest information related to the topic. A literature search was done on PUBMED using the keywords “noma / cancrum oris”. Noma is commonly seen in malnourished children. There has been an increased incidence of noma in HIV patients. Apart from these, noma has also been reported in association with cyclic neutropenia, herpetic stomatitis, leukemia, Down’s syndrome and Burkett’s disease. Treatment of acute noma includes transfusion of blood and intravenous fluids, administration of antibiotics, putting the patient on a high protein diet and debridement of necrotic areas. Surgical phase is usually initiated 6 to 18 months after a period of quiescence. Although, the mortality rate associated with noma has reduced significantly with the advent of modern generation antibiotics, the functional, cosmetic and psychological challenges associated with the destruction of soft or hard tissues still remains a huge challenge. Adequate steps must be implemented by the government or medical professionals to prevent the disease and provide an early intervention.

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