• The prevalence of noma in northwest Nigeria

      Farley, E; Oyemakinde, MJ; Schuurmans, J; Ariti, C; Saleh, F; Uzoigwe, G; Bil, K; Oluyide, B; Fotso, A; Amirtharajah, M; et al. (BMJ, 2020-04-14)
      Background Noma, a rapidly progressing infection of the oral cavity, mainly affects children. The true burden is unknown. This study reports estimated noma prevalence in children in northwest Nigeria. Methods Oral screening was performed on all ≤15 year olds, with caretaker consent, in selected households during this cross-sectional survey. Noma stages were classified using WHO criteria and caretakers answered survey questions. The prevalence of noma was estimated stratified by age group (0–5 and 6–15 years). Factors associated with noma were estimated using logistic regression. Results A total of 177 clusters, 3499 households and 7122 children were included. In this sample, 4239 (59.8%) were 0–5 years and 3692 (52.1%) were female. Simple gingivitis was identified in 3.1% (n=181; 95% CI 2.6 to 3.8), acute necrotising gingivitis in 0.1% (n=10; CI 0.1 to 0.3) and oedema in 0.05% (n=3; CI 0.02 to 0.2). No cases of late-stage noma were detected. Multivariable analysis in the group aged 0–5 years showed having a well as the drinking water source (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 2.1; CI 1.2 to 3.6) and being aged 3–5 years (aOR 3.9; CI 2.1 to 7.8) was associated with being a noma case. In 6–15 year olds, being male (aOR 1.5; CI 1.0 to 2.2) was associated with being a noma case and preparing pap once or more per week (aOR 0.4; CI 0.2 to 0.8) was associated with not having noma. We estimated that 129120 (CI 105294 to 1 52 947) individuals <15 years of age would have any stage of noma at the time of the survey within the two states. Most of these cases (93%; n=120 082) would be children with simple gingivitis. Conclusions Our study identified a high prevalence of children at risk of developing advanced noma. This disease is important but neglected and therefore merits inclusion in the WHO neglected tropical diseases list.