Cancrum oris: its incidence and treatment in Enugu, Nigeria.
Three Nigerian African patients (two boys aged 5 and 14 and one woman aged 28) with cancrum oris (noma) were seen over a period of 10 years at the maxillofacial unit of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu. All three were from lower socioeconomic groups, and were treated with penicillin and metronidazole. The few patients that we saw (three in 10 years) contrasts with the much larger number of patients seen at the maxillofacial unit of the Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Kaduna, Northern Nigeria (140 in 4 years) and University College Hospital, Ibadan, Western Nigeria (250 in 3 years). Nutritional cultures differ in these areas, and I suggest that the more balanced diet of the Eastern Nigerians may be one of the reasons for this difference. Poverty is the single most important risk factor, and preventive measures are necessary.
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