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Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common skin disease caused by a virus (Poxvirus) that spreads easily between people. Children are more often affected; however anyone exposed to the virus may develop this disease.

Signs and Symptoms

Molluscum causes growths on the skin. These lesions can be raised, round or dome-shaped bumps on the skin that look like thick-walled pimples. They often have a dimple (indentation) in the center of bumps. They many different sizes, from pinhead to ¼ inch. Lesions are usually not painful but can be occasionally itchy and when your body fights them off they can look red and irritated.

Expected course

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  • Infection occurs by having skin-to-skin contact with someone with molloscum
  • Touching an object such as a towel, mat, toy or clothing previously exposed to a Molluscum growth
  • Reports of people getting Molluscum from a gym mat or swimming pool
  • Most Molluscum are harmless and disappear without treatment within 6-18 months
  • Lesions can spread if picked and scratched due to auto-innoculation
  • Molluscum can spread rapidly and last longer in children who also have atopic dermatitis
  • Most children develop only five to ten Molluscum, but some acquire more.



Treatment is not necessary because it is harmless, painless and have a natural tendency to heal and disappear without leaving scars. Treatment can be painful and frightening, especially to younger children. Treatment may be unsuccessful or need to be repeated. Some treatments may leave scars. Reasons for treatment include: if the lesions are picked, lesions are in areas of friction (for example, the armpit), you feel they are a cosmetic problem or they are spreading rapidly

Treatment that you may receive in a dermatologist’s office include:

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  • Liquid Nitrogen Cryosurgery-destruction with freezing
  • Electrocautery and/or Curettage- an electric needle to destroy the growths and then removed with an instrument called a curette.
  • Topical (applied to the skin)
  • Acids or blistering solutions (Cantharidin- from a blister beetle)
  • Prescriptions to be use at home include Imiquimod and Veregen