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Molluscum Contagiosum

This is contagious viral infection that can be easily transmitted from one person to another by touch. It is caused by a pox virus referred to as the molluscum Contagiosum virus.


The virus responsible for this disease spreads directly from person to person. Other avenues of spread can be infected towels, clothing among others. A good number of molluscum Contagiosum cases in adults are spread by sexual contact.

How common

It is fairly common and accounts for 1% of all skin infections in the United States.

Chances of being infected

This disease is rare in healthy adults and will be seen commonly in those individuals who have HIV, cancers or those patients who are on medications that suppress the immune system.

How to detect if someone has it

Molluscum Contagiosum - Detect

An infected person will usually develop skin manifestations within 6-12 months after contracting the virus. In people who have an intact immune system the skin disease is mild and results in flesh-colored lesions that are raised and umblicated (dimpled). The sores can measure somewhere from 2 to 5 mm. They occur anywhere in the body and can at times become itchy and inflamed.


No effective vaccine has been developed for this infection.


In most cases no treatment is required because this disease is self-limiting and will go away by itself. This infection is usually limited to the epidermis and once the skin disease resolves the virus is completely gone.

Some cases that might warrant treatment;

  • Lesions on the genital area
  • Pediatric patients
  • When lesions are located on an area where it is visible
  • To limit the spread

The treatment options available are;

  1. Physical removal of the lesions by cryotherapy, curettage and laser. These methods require trained medical personnel and are likely to result into scarring.
  2. Oral therapy with cimetidine can be used. This form of treatment does not pose a risk of scarring. The downside is that facial lesions may be unresponsive to this form of therapy.

The risk chart is the heart of this guide, and it can be found here

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