Pronounced: mo-lus-kum kon-ta-je-o-sum
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus. The virus can be spread from:
Factors that increase your risk of getting molluscum contagiosum include:
Symptoms may include:
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Diagnosis is usually made based on the lesion appearance. Sometimes a biopsy will be taken to rule out other conditions. A biopsy is the removal of a small sample of the area. The sample will be looked at under a microscope.
Molluscum contagiosum usually goes away on its own within six months to two years without any treatment. For people with HIV, the lesions usually persist and spread indefinitely. Your doctor may recommend the removal of some lesions to prevent the spread of the infection or to avoid infecting others.
Treatment options include the following:
To reduce your chances of getting molluscum contagiosum, avoid any contact with an infected person.
If you are contagious, avoid any personal contact with others, contact sports, or sharing personal items.
American Academy of Dermatology
American Social Health Association
Canadian Dermatology Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
American Academy of Dermatology. Molluscum contagiosum. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org.... Accessed May 29 2013.
Dohil MA, Lin P, et al. The epidemiology of molluscum contagiosum in children. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54(1):47-54.
Hanson D. Diven DG. Molluscum contagiosum. Dermatology Online J. 2003;9(2):2.
Molluscum contagiosum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated April 24, 2012. Accessed May 29, 2013.
Molluscum contagiosum: questions & answers. American Social Health Association website. Available at: http://www.ashastd.org/std-sti/molluscum-contagiosum.html. Accessed May 29, 2013.
Stulberg DL, Hutchinson AG. Molluscum contagiosum and warts. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(6):1233-1240.
Theos AU, Cummins R, et al. Effectiveness of imiquimod cream 5% for treating childhood molluscum contagiosum in a double-blind, randomized pilot trial. Cutis. 2004;74(2):134-138,141-142.
Last reviewed May 2013 by Brian Randall, MD
Last Updated: 5/11/2013