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July 1932


Author Affiliations

Professor of Oto-Laryngology, Georgetown University Medical School; Dental Resident, Georgetown University Hospital WASHINGTON, D. C.
From the Departments of Otolaryngology and Oral Surgery, Georgetown University Medical and Dental Schools.

Arch Otolaryngol. 1932;16(1):1-8. doi:10.1001/archotol.1932.00630040008001

Noma, known also as cancrum oris and gangrenous stomatitis, was well described by the older writers. Osler defined this disease as an affliction characterized by a rapidly progressing gangrene, beginning on the gums or mucous membrane of the cheek and leading to extensive sloughing and destruction. This is the usual site, though it may occur in the vulva or even in areas not near mucous membranes.

The etiology of the condition is unknown; however, it has been generally accepted that it is seen mainly in children between the ages of 2 and 10 years who are poorly nourished, live in an insanitary environment, are in debilitated health or are convalescing from acute fevers, especially measles and more rarely scarlet fever and typhoid. It is more common in girls than in boys. Among dental authors, Mead tersely stated that there is no other disease like it.

Gokhale1 reported a case

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