Campaigners draw attention to disfiguring childhood disease

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: (Published 08 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1038
  1. Peter Moszynski
  1. 1London

A campaign has been launched to combat a childhood oral disease that occurs in areas of extreme poverty and malnutrition.

The World Health Organisation estimates that there are about 100 000 cases a year worldwide of noma (cancrum oris), an opportunist infectious childhood oral disease, with an 80% fatality rate. Its survivors are left so badly scarred that often they are ostracised from their communities. It mainly affects young children with micronutrient deficiencies and starts as gingivitis that turns into necrotising ulcerative tissue or an undetected oedema in the cheek. …

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