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Zahnheilkunde 1. März 2007

Noma: Life cycle of a devastating sore

Noma (cancrum oris) is an orofacial gangrene, which during its fulminating course causes progressive and mutilating destruction of the infected tissues. The disease occurs mainly in children with malnutrition, poor oral hygiene and debilitating concurrent illness. Noma is well documented in the literature, but because most patients do not report to a doctor until the disease is at an advanced stage, its onset and progression remain a mystery. This case report, with a survey of recent relevant literature, highlights the different stages in the development of tissue necrosis, including onset and progression, with an emphasis on the need for early diagnosis and prompt treatment.

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