Case Study: Cancrum oris (noma) in a malnourished HIV-positive child from rural Kwazulu-Natal

  • D Rowe Programme Oral Heatlth, St Apollinaris Hospital, Centocow, KwaZulu-Natal
  • N McKerrow Paediatrics and Child Health, Pietermaritzburg Metropolitan Hospitals Complex
  • A Uys East Griqualand and Usher Memorial Hospital, Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal
  • T Winstanley Department of Oral Medicine and Periodontology, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg


Cancrum oris (noma – derived from the Greek nomein, ‘to devour\') is an infectious disease with a fulminating course that destroys the oro-facial tissues and other neighbouring structures.1 Although cancrum oris can occur at any age, it is most commonly in malnourished children between the ages of 1 and 5 years whose general health has been further weakened by some infectious disease, usually measles but also tuberculosis, gastro-enteritis, typhoid, whooping cough, or malignant disease such as leukaemia. The possible relevance to HIV has not been fully investigated. This report details a case presenting to East Griqualand and Usher Memorial Hospital, Kokstad, KwaZulu-Natal.
Southern African Journal of HIV Medicine Vol. 5 (3) 2004: 45-46

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