Nav: Home

Researchers outline risk factors for facial gangrene

August 23, 2018

Noma, a rare disease found predominantly in underserved areas, causes progressive destruction, or gangrene, of the tissues of the face and jaw within just the span of one week. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have analyzed 74 cases of noma in northwest Nigeria to pinpoint the risk factors for developing the disease.

Noma mostly affects children under the age of 5 years old, and it is estimated that up to 90% of noma cases die. Those who survive have severe facial disfigurements and multiple health problems related to eating, breathing, and social isolation. Noma is most prevalent along the "noma belt" stretching from Senegal to Ethiopia, but cases have been reported elsewhere. The World Health Organization estimates that 140,000 children contract noma each year.

Elise Farley of Medicins Sans Frontieres in Nigeria, and colleagues studied 74 cases of noma, all admitted to the Noma Children's Hospital in Sokoto between May 2015 and June 2016. Patients were all under the age of 15 at the time of onset. 222 controls were matched to cases by village of residence, current age, and sex. Each participant's parents or caretakers were asked to answer questions about household sociodemographics, living conditions, vaccination history, breastfeeding, and other nutrition-related practices.

While many factors were similar between cases and controls-- including low vaccination rates--some stood out as risk factors for noma. Children who were fed pap, a corn porridge, every day were at a higher risk of contracting noma-- the researchers hypothesize that eating pap is a proxy for overall poor variation in diet. Children whose mother was their primary caretaker, whose caretaker was married, and who were fed colostrum, the earliest breastmilk after birth, were less likely to get noma.

"Noma is a neglected disease, and current risk factors suggest that intervention efforts could be more effective by focusing on access to health care, the benefits of breastfeeding and a varied diet," the researchers say. "However, more research is needed to better understand the pathogenesis of this disease in order to improve prevention, early detection and treatment."
Peer-reviewed / Case Study / Humans

In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available paper:

Citation: Farley E, Lenglet A, Ariti C, Jiya NM, Adetunji AS, et al. (2018) Risk factors for diagnosed noma in northwest Nigeria: A case-control study, 2017. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases 12(8): e0006631.

Funding: This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors. All research was carried out by MSF staff as part of their roles.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared no competing interests exist.


Related Breastfeeding Articles:

Is it safe to vape while breastfeeding?
Findings from a new animal study suggest that maternal nicotine exposure during breastfeeding could be linked to problems with skull and face development.
Breastfeeding benefits during COVID-19
While the current coronavirus pandemic continues to affect all people, families will still give birth and bring new life into the world.
Breastfeeding and risks of allergies and asthma
In an Acta Paediatrica study, exclusive breastfeeding for the first 3 months was linked with a lower risk of respiratory allergies and asthma when children reached 6 years of age.
Coronavirus treatment and risk to breastfeeding women
Little data is available about the ability of antiviral drugs used to treat COVID-19, coronavirus, to enter breastmilk, let alone the potential adverse effects on breastfeeding infants.
Managing cannabis use in breastfeeding women
As more states legalize medicinal and recreational cannabis use and increasingly decriminalize cannabis, the risk to the growth and development of breastfeeding infants whose mothers use cannabis becomes a growing public health concern.
New recommendations released on bedsharing to promote breastfeeding
Leading experts representing The Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine (ABM) have released new evidence-based recommendations regarding the benefits and risks of bedsharing for mother-infant pairs who have initiated breastfeeding and are in home settings.
Apps help with breastfeeding -- at a cost
Mobile phone apps are increasingly being used to support breastfeeding decisions - sometimes at a cost, a Flinders University study indicates.
Breastfeeding disparities among us children by race/ethnicity
Overall rates of breastfeeding increased from 2009 to 2015 but they varied by race/ethnicity in this observational study that used national survey data for nearly 168,000 infants in the United States.
Initiating breastfeeding in vulnerable infants
The benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child are well-recognized, including for late preterm infants (LPI).
WHO study confirms breastfeeding protects against child obesity, however levels of breastfeeding across Europe are well off-target
New research from WHO published at this month's European Congress on Obesity shows that babies who are never or only partially breast fed have an increased risk of becoming obese as children compared to babies who are exclusively breastfed.
More Breastfeeding News and Breastfeeding Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Making Amends
What makes a true apology? What does it mean to make amends for past mistakes? This hour, TED speakers explore how repairing the wrongs of the past is the first step toward healing for the future. Guests include historian and preservationist Brent Leggs, law professor Martha Minow, librarian Dawn Wacek, and playwright V (formerly Eve Ensler).
Now Playing: Science for the People

#566 Is Your Gut Leaking?
This week we're busting the human gut wide open with Dr. Alessio Fasano from the Center for Celiac Research and Treatment at Massachusetts General Hospital. Join host Anika Hazra for our discussion separating fact from fiction on the controversial topic of leaky gut syndrome. We cover everything from what causes a leaky gut to interpreting the results of a gut microbiome test! Related links: Center for Celiac Research and Treatment website and their YouTube channel
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Flag and the Fury
How do you actually make change in the world? For 126 years, Mississippi has had the Confederate battle flag on their state flag, and they were the last state in the nation where that emblem remained "officially" flying.  A few days ago, that flag came down. A few days before that, it coming down would have seemed impossible. We dive into the story behind this de-flagging: a journey involving a clash of histories, designs, families, and even cheerleading. This show is a collaboration with OSM Audio. Kiese Laymon's memoir Heavy is here. And the Hospitality Flag webpage is here.