Back to search

Noma, a neglected disease: prevention is better than cure


Purpose of review 

There is a need for concerted effort to increase Global awareness about noma (cancrum oris). This paper aims to summarize the recent literature on noma and provide suggestions that could be implemented to raise awareness about this neglected disease.

Recent findings 

Noma has been recognized, diagnosed and reported for centuries. Despite significant progress in scientific methods over time, the published literature on noma has predominantly been of low level clinical and scientific evidence. Recent studies have reported on noma's global distribution and its predisposing risk factors, its treatment, its knowledge and beliefs and has included a number of literature reviews. Noma cases are being reported from an increasingly diverse set of geographical locations.


Noma has largely been neglected in the research sphere. Noma is a preventable disease and its progression can be halted if patients are recognized and treated in the early stages of disease. Treatment for late stage noma survivors remains complex and time consuming, requiring substantial human and financial resources most commonly not achieving functional and cosmetic anatomy. The ultimate aim is therefore prevention, initiatives should be integrated into existing health programs.

More information

Journal Article
Farley E
Amirtharajah M
Shaye DA

More publications on: