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Molluscum Contagiosum is a common harmless viral infection of the skin that commonly affects both children and adults. Though, the disease is usually mild and is self-limited treatment may be required as its contagious.

Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by poxvirus called Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV). There are four types of MCV (MCV-I, MCV-II, MCV-III, MCV-IV). MCV-I is most common type while, MCV-II is seen in people with HIV infection. MCV-III and MCV-IV are rare.

The virus spreads from person to person either by skin-to skin contact or sharing items of the infected person. It can also transmit through sexual contact. It can also spread within a body during the course of touching or scratching of the lesion. Most believe that the virus might also be spread by sharing common baths, saunas or swimming pools, however, this has not been proven. Molluscum contatiosum is common among the individual with atopic eczema and those with immunosuppressionn like underlying HIV infection, diabetes, oral steroids, immunosuppressive therapy etc.

Molluscum Contagiosum Signs and Symptoms

Molluscum contagiosum presents as small, round, raised, white, pearly, pink or flesh-colored bumps (papules) with a dimple or pit in the center. These bumps are usually smooth, firm and painless. These lesion usually present in a group. In children, lesions are usually located in the face, trunk, arms and legs. In adults, lower abdomen, groin, thighs and genital are the commonly affected areas but they may appear anywhere on the body. Few cases have reported findings on the conjunctiva and eyelids.

In most of the cases there may be few lesion (less than twenty), some may also have 1-2 lesion. When one has hundreds of such lesion, this may indicate decrease immunity (as in the case of chronic internal disease like diabetes, HIV or any medications that decrease immune system).

Molluscum contagiosum is usually asymptomatic; few may experience irritation, itching, tenderness and pain. Lesions normally are self-limited and may disappear within 6-12 months without leaving scar. In people with weakened immune system, it can persist for several years.

Diagnosis of Molluscum Contagiosum

Generally diagnosis is made by visual inspection of the lesion. If in doubt, skin scrapings is taken from the infected area and viewed under a microscope. If the diagnosis is uncertain excisional biopsy may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

Although, Molluscum contagiosum lesions may resolve on its own without leaving any scar, treatment may be necessary to avoid spreading within the body or another person. There are several topical creams, oral medications and surgical options to consider. These options are listed below:

Topical Applications:

  • Podophylin
  • Potassium hydroxide
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Imiquimod cream 5%
  • Cantharidin
  • Tretinoin cream
  • Trichloroacetic acid
  • Silver nitrate

Surgical Treatment

  • Curettage
  • Cryotherapy (freezing with liquid nitrogen)
  • Pulsed dye laser

Once the lesion have completely resolved Molluscum Contagiosum virus doesn’t remain in the body like other herpes virus. It can be completely cured. However, there is no permanent immunity to virus; so, one may get infected again upon contact to an infected person.


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  2. vayne carudas solidor
    May 16, 2013 at 8:34 am

    thanks a lot for the information, if I had this kind of disease, it means I have HIV also?
    please respond.

  3. Deepak
    May 16, 2013 at 10:53 am

    No that doesn’t mean you have HIV, however you will have greater risk of HIV transmission if u have sexual encounter during the MC infection periods. In some cases severe molluscum contagiosum may also indicate co-infection with HIV.

  4. Greg
    May 25, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    So I have a cut in the middle of the bottom of my penis with bumps lining bottom of the shaft do I have anything?
    Please Respond

  5. Carl
    May 4, 2018 at 6:18 am

    I have small bumps on my foreskin that look like it’s genital wart but they don’t itches and my girlfriend tested negative for all sti/std!! Plus we just had a healthy baby in the process of the bumps on my foreskin!! And she have no sigh of any bumps on her vagina or anus or mouth!!

  6. Neal
    June 15, 2018 at 12:03 pm

    Hey, Carl! You wrote of your girlfriend testing (negative) for sti’s/std’s, but make no mention of your own responsibility to have yourself tested. Men should not look to women when determining sources of infection. Moreover, it was highly irresponsible of you to risk an unborn infant by engaging in procreative sex whist experiencing the symptoms of a disease.

    The negative effects of male arrogance is compounded by wilful ignorance.

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