Facing noma

by Talha Burki
The Lancet Infectious Diseases, Vol. 16, No. 11, pp.1231, November 2016

1 pp. 103 kB

Once noma has been witnessed it is impossible to forget. Its name is taken from the Greek word meaning to devour. The flesh-eating disease leaves survivors with gaping holes in their cheeks, sometimes on both sides of what remains of their face. Jaws are immobilised and the ravaged mouth drips saliva. Those who can no longer chew, have to fold their food and push it into their oesophagus. Infants who lose their lips are unable to breastfeed; they often starve to death. Affecting hundreds of thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa, noma is devastating yet poorly understood. A

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