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Noma Added to WHO’s Neglected Tropical Disease List

Why is it in the news?

  • WHO recently included ‘Noma’ in its official list of Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs).

About the Noma

  • Also known as cancrum oris or gangrenous stomatitis.
  • It’s a severe gangrenous disease affecting the mouth and face.
  • Caused by the bacteria spirochete Borrelia vincenti, commonly found in the mouth.
  • Begins with inflammation of gums but rapidly progresses, leading to extensive tissue destruction.
  • May result in the exposure of facial bones.
  • Noma has a high mortality rate, estimated to be around 90%.
  • Primarily affects children aged 2 to 6 years old; Common in children who are malnourished, infected with other diseases, living in extreme poverty with poor oral health, or having weakened immune systems.
  • Treatment: Immediate action with antibiotics; Rehydration; correction of electrolyte imbalances; and nutritional supplements to halt disease progression.
  • Preventive Measures: Enhancing living conditions and healthcare access for vulnerable populations; Ensuring proper nutrition; Implementing immunization practices; Promoting oral hygiene and improving sanitation practices.

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