Question 1 of 10

    Noma (Cancrum Oris)


    Noma (cancrum oris, gangrenous stomatitis) is a severe gangrenous disease of orofacial tissues seen in malnourished children.

    This disorder is related to the following process: degenerative. Additionally this disease is caused by the process: infectious.


    Before necrosis the following are common presentations [7]:

    These are followed by rapid, painless and extensive necrosis of the oral cavity which should involve the cheek, nose and palate bones. There may be necrosis of the genitalia and mucocutaneous gangrene may be seen during the neonatal period.

    Jaw & Teeth
  • more...
  • Entire body system
    • A severe, often gangrenous inflammation of the lips and cheek or of the female genitals that often occurs following an infectious disease and is found most often in children in poor hygienic or malnourished condition.[]
    • Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face.[]
    • : a spreading invasive gangrene chiefly of the lining of the cheek and lips that is usually fatal and occurs most often in persons severely debilitated by disease or profound nutritional deficiency Origin and Etymology of noma New Latin, from Greek nomē[]
    • Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary English [ edit ] Etymology [ edit ] Noun [ edit ] noma ( medicine ) A gangrenous disease leading to tissue destruction of the face, especially the mouth and cheek.[]
    • Cancrum oris; Gangrenous stomatitis Marck KW.[]
  • more...
  • Face, Head & Neck
  • more...
  • neurologic
  • more...
  • Skin
    Skin Ulcer
    • Physical examination shows inflamed areas of the mucous membranes, mouth ulcers, and skin ulcers.[]
  • more...
  • gastrointestinal
  • more...
  • musculoskeletal
  • more...
  • psychiatrical
    • […] discourses on the nature of the Other or other as the site of abhorrence, or abjection, the disuse jettisoned in the construction of the fortress of the self appears as not only as the weary rhetoric of the still colonized mind, but also a complete denial[]
    • In 2011, with El Bulli having withdrawn from the competition because they would be permanently closing, Noma was easily named the Best Restaurant for the second straight year.[]
  • more...
  • Eyes
  • more...
  • Workup

    Diagnosis is reliant on swabs and cultures for organisms [8]. The result often shows Borrielia vincentii and fusiform bacilli. In rapidly progressing cases, anaerobes may be detected.
    To determine the extent of the condition, facial x-rays and CT scans can be used.


    Other Pathologies
  • more...
  • Treatment

    Treatment involves the following [9]:

    • Fluid resuscitation
    • Antibiotics
    • Enteral feeding
    • Wound debridement

    The last stage of treatment in some cases is plastic surgery which involves facial reconstruction and the possible repair of temporomandibular joint.


    The clinical course for each case varies a great deal and the mortality and morbidity rate is high as 70-90% of cases die [6]. It remains to be seen if this high mortality is as a result of clinical manifestations or as a result of poor or inaccurate diagnosis.


    • Noma (cancrum oris) is an acute and ravaging gangrenous infection affecting the face.[]
    • The infection spreads to the skin, and the tissues in the lips and cheeks die.[]
    • The symptoms were attributed to norovirus, which was believed to have been unintentionally spread by an infected kitchen employee.[]
  • more...
  • Etiology

    Fusobacterium necrophorum and Prevotella intermedia are believed to play a role in the development of this disease [2]. The interactions that bring about the disease remain unclear but it is believed to develop following acute necrotising fasciitis.

    The following are risk factors documented for the condition [3]:


    The condition is a disease of children as 80% of cases are seen in patients less than 10 years old [4]. It is common in developing countries, most especially in the poorest areas of Africa, parts of Asia and parts of South America. A total of 100,000 people are affected per year by this condition.

    Sex distribution
    Age distribution


    Noma refers to a severe disfiguring gangrene of the face and mouth which first starts as gingival ulcer before it spreads rapidly through the tissues in the mouth and face [5]. Unlike what is obtainable with other facially infectious processes, noma can disrupt anatomic barriers by spreading through the bone and muscle instead of progressing along anatomic spaces of the head and neck. The gangrene that results may involve the maxilla and the mandible and also extend to the infra-orbital margins as well as the nose.


    The main preventive measures include proper nutrition, cleanliness as well as sanitation [10].


    This condition refers to the spontaneous necrosis of both the soft and hard tissues in the oral cavity [1]. The condition was first described in the mid-eighteenth century by Tourdes. It is a rapidly progressive and polymicrobial infection that is found when the immune system is compromised.

    Patient Information

    Noma is a type of disease which destroys the mucous membranes of the mouth as well as other tissues. It is seen mostly in malnourished children in parts of the world known for uncleanliness and living closely with animals.

    The main cause is unknown however it I believed to be as a result of bacteria known as fusospirochetal organisms. The disorder is most potent when the child has had illnesses such as measles, scarlett fever, tuberculosis, cancer and other forms of immunocompression.

    Treatment is often with the aid of antibiotics but the chance of survival is often very poor most of the time.


    Ask Question

    5000 Characters left Format the text using: # Heading, **bold**, _italic_. HTML code is not allowed.


    1. Enwonwu CO, Falkler WA Jr, Phillips RS. Noma (cancrum oris). Lancet 2006; 368:147.
    2. Evrard L, Laroque G, Glineur R, Daelemans P. Noma: clinical and evolutive aspect. Acta Stomatol Belg 1996; 93:17.
    3. Tempest MN. Cancrum oris. Br J Surg 1966; 53:949.
    4. Marck KW. A history of noma, the "Face of Poverty". Plast Reconstr Surg 2003; 111:1702.
    5. Boot A. Observationes Medicae de Affectibus Omissis. London: Thomas Newcomb, 1649.
    6. Tourdes J. Du noma ou du sphacele de la bouche chez les enfants. Thesis. Strasbourg, 1848.
    7. Baratti-Mayer D, Pittet B, Montandon D, et al. Noma: an "infectious" disease of unknown aetiology. Lancet Infect Dis 2003; 3:419.
    8. Van Damme, PA. Essay noma. Lancet 2006; 368:561.
    9. Leclercq MH. Can dentistry tackle inequality? The challenge of noma. Fdi world 1999; 2:9.
    10. Bourgeois DM, Leclercq MH. The World Health Organization initiative on noma. Oral Dis 1999; 5:172.

    • Brachytherapy for stage I & II oral tongue cancer: an analysis of past cases focusing on control and complications - H Shibuya, M Hoshina, M Takeda, S Matsumoto - International Journal of , 1993 - Elsevier
    • Isolated Limb Perfusion With Tumor Necrosis Factor {alpha}, Interferon Gamma, and Melphalan for Locally Advanced Nonmelanoma Skin Tumors of the - AFT Olieman, D Liénard, AMM Eggermont - Archives of , 1999 - Am Med Assoc
    • A Case of Acute Lymphatic Leukemia in Pregnancy* - C Mehta - BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & , 1937 - Wiley Online Library
    • Leptotrichia species in human infections - ERK Eribe, I Olsen - Anaerobe, 2008 - Elsevier

    Media References

    1. Noma, CC BY 2.5
    2. Noma entrance, CC BY 2.0