An opportunistic infection of the mouth occurring in children. It can spread from the mucosa with initial gingival inflammation followed by rapid spread to extensive orofacial gangrene. The peak incidence is at 1–4 years of age and the infection is most common in sub-Saharan Africa. The condition is rare and is generally only found in cases of severe malnutrition. Cancrum oris may be preceded by diseases such as malaria, measles, severe diarrhoea, and necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. The acute stage responds readily to antibiotic therapy but the sequelae following healing can include functional and aesthetic impairment, which may require reconstructive surgery.
Enwonwu C. O., Falkler W. A. Jr, Phillips R. S. Noma (cancrum oris) Lancet 2006;368:147–56.