Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
 

Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease of the skin that causes small, pink or skin-colored bumps on the skin. It is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms. The virus is inside the bumps and is mildly contagious. These bumps usually clear over an extended period of time.

What causes molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the poxvirus. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults. The virus usually is spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person. People with weakened immune systems, young children, and people living in warm, humid climates are more susceptible to molluscum contagiosum.

What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?

The bumps are small and are usually pink or skin-colored. Eventually, the bumps tend to develop a small sunken center. The number of lesions usually ranges between two to 20. The lesions usually occur in groups or clusters. They are not harmful, but may cause some cosmetic concern for the individual if they appear on the face or other visible areas.

How is molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?

Molluscum contagiosum is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. The lesions are unique and usually are diagnosed on physical examination. Additional tests are not routinely ordered.

Treatment for molluscum contagiosum

Specific treatment for molluscum contagiosum will be determined by your physician based on:

In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over a period of six to nine months. The best way to avoid this disease is by following good hygiene habits. For example, do not pick or scratch your skin (or someone else's). Always practice good hand washing hygiene. Additional treatment options may include:

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