Treatment of Noma, complications, mortality

The most promising way to prevent Noma is to improve the nutritional status of children and to prevent or treat other diseases such as malaria, measles, rubella, typhoid, etc.

If Noma occurs, the child must immediately be stabilized with a customized emergency food program and an antibiotic drug therapy in order to build up the immune system – thereafter a further treatment by plastic surgery and physical therapy is necessary. This, however, exceeds by far the possibilities of developing countries.

Complications arise from the destructive nature of the disease. In principle, all structures of the face are affected: mouth, tongue, nose, eyes and ears. Ultimately a jaw lock or a lack of jaw muscles leads to the fact, that chewing and swallowing is no longer possible. As a result, the child dies of thirst, hunger, vomit, or of the sepsis. Without help complications are inevitable - the disease usually ends fatal: the mortality rate without medical care is unacceptably high at 80%. If a Noma victim receives professional help in time, the survival rate is close to 100%.