Molluscum contagiosum is an infection of the skin. It is caused by the molluscum virus. In children, the most common areas are the face, neck, arms, and hands. In adults, it is considered a sexually transmitted disease. In these cases the genitals and surrounding skin are the areas most commonly affected.
Contact with the virus causes this skin infection. This can occur with skin to skin contact.
Having skin to skin contact with an infected person is the main risk factor. Other risk factors include:
Indirect contact with an infected person through a swimming pool or bath or by sharing towels or clothing
Sexual contact with an infected person
Weakened immune system (eg,
) or broken skin increases risk for getting disease, and causes more severe symptoms
Skin lesions are the main symptom. If you experience a similar skin lesion, do not assume it is due to this condition. These lesions may be caused by other health conditions. It is important that you see your doctor.
Molluscum contagiosum skin lesions usually have the following characteristics:
Small, dome-shaped bumps with dimpling in center
Painless, but may be itchy or tender
At first appear translucent, pearly or flesh-colored and later may turn gray and drain
White or waxy substance in center of lesion
Usually multiple lesions in groups
Face, trunk, arms, and legs are common sites in children
Genitals, abdomen, and inner thigh are common sites in adults
Can last from several weeks to several years
Diagnosis is usually made based on the lesions. Sometimes a biopsy will be taken. The sample will be looked at under a microscope. Your doctor may refer you to a dermatologist. This type of doctor focuses on skin conditions.
Left untreated, this disease usually resolves within six months. If untreated in people with HIV, the lesions usually persist and spread indefinitely. Your doctor may recommend removal of the lesions in order to prevent spreading, or to avoid infecting others.
Treatment options include the following:
The lesions can be removed by cutting them off the surface of the skin.
Chemicals are placed directly on the lesions to remove them. Common treatments include:
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a