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a disease whose clinical picture resembles that of progressive moist gangrene.
Noma usually develops in undernourished persons during or after an infectious disease, for example, measles, dysentry, typhus, malaria, or leishmaniasis. Its occurrence is particularly common during large-scale disasters, such as wars and crop failures. Children between the ages of two and six are the most susceptible.
Noma usually affects the facial tissues and the mucous membranes of the mouth; sometimes other areas are affected, including the genitalia and the rectum. The cause of the disease has not been conclusively determined, although it is known that no malignant neoplasm is involved. Noma is treated with antibiotics, antigangrene serum, and blood transfusions, in conjunction with a balanced diet that includes multiple vitamins.