Molluscum Contagiosum

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum is an infection caused by a type of pox virus. The infection results in a benign skin disease characterized by lesions (growths) that can appear anywhere. This infection can resolve within six months to a year, but in some reported instances it can take up to four years.

What are the Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum?

The main symptom for Molluscum contagiosum is the appearance of the growths that can be found anywhere on the body. The growths are small, raised, and usually white, flesh-colored or pink with a pitted center. They often have a shiny appearance similar to pearl. The growths can become seriously itchy and painful.

Children with the infection are more likely to scratch excessively at the lesions, resulting in bleeding and potentially long-term scarring. A person who might have an abnormal number of lesions, may have a further underlying medical issue which could require immediate medical attention.

How is Molluscum Contagiosum Treated?

Treatment for Molluscum contagiosum is usually only recommended if the infection surfaces in certain places of the body such as the genital areas. Areas where the infection is visible can be treated to reduce and eliminate the appearance of the growths. The most common treatments are through topical creams and freezing through cryotherapy. A person may be prescribed medications to deal with the itching symptoms, such as a special topical ointment. Some people can resort to simple treatments such as calamine lotion to soothe any of the skin irritation.

When Molluscum contagiosum finally dissipates, the chance of it reoccurring are very rare as a person is most likely to develop an immunity to the infection.

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Last Reviewed:
September 21, 2016
Last Updated:
August 31, 2017