Pronounced: mo-lus-kum kon-ta-je-o-sum
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection.
The molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) causes the infection. MCV spreads from contact with someone who has it. This can happen through:
It can also spread from one part of your body to another. This happens mainly with your hand.
Your chances of molluscum contagiosum are higher if you have:
Bumps generally appear on the face, trunk, arms, and legs of children. The groin, belly, and inner thighs are common places on adults.
Molluscum contagiosum may cause:
These problems may last from many weeks to many years.
The bumps on your skin point to molluscum contagiosum. A biopsy can rule out other causes. A skin sample is checked under a microscope.
In most cases, molluscum contagiosum doesn’t need care. It will go away on its own within 6 to 9 months.
In others, the bumps may linger or spread. This can be more of a problem for people with HIV. Your doctor may remove the bumps. This will help lower the chances of spreading it on you or to other people.
Procedures may involve:
To lower your chances of getting molluscum contagiosum, avoid contact with someone who has it.
If you have it, don’t:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Sexual Health Association
Canadian Dermatology Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Molluscum. American Sexual Health Association website. Available at: http://www.ashasexualhealth.org/stdsstis/molluscum-contagiosum. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116448/Molluscum-contagiosum. Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/viral-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum. Updated October 2016. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD Last Updated: 6/20/2018