Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral skin infection that is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). This infection is highly contagious and is characterized by the formation of small, dome-shaped bumps or lesions on the skin. While molluscum contagiosum is not a serious condition, it can be unsightly and uncomfortable, especially when the lesions are located in highly visible areas of the body.
Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children and young adults, although it can occur at any age. The virus is spread through direct contact with the skin of an infected person, as well as through contact with contaminated objects such as towels, clothing, and toys. The virus can also be spread through sexual contact, making it a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in some cases.
The symptoms of molluscum contagiosum typically begin to appear between two and seven weeks after exposure to the virus. The lesions are usually small, firm, and smooth, with a waxy or pearly appearance. They may be pink, white, or flesh-colored, and they often have a central indentation or a small, raised bump. The lesions may occur anywhere on the body, but they are most commonly found on the face, neck, arms, hands, and torso.
Molluscum contagiosum lesions can be itchy, sore, or tender, especially if they are located in areas where they are frequently rubbed or irritated. The lesions can also become infected, causing pain, redness, and swelling. In rare cases, the infection can spread to other parts of the body, such as the eyes, mouth, or genital area.
If you suspect that you or your child may have molluscum contagiosum, it is important to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis. Your healthcare provider will examine the lesions and may perform a skin biopsy or other tests to confirm the diagnosis. If the diagnosis is confirmed, your healthcare provider may recommend one or more treatment options.
There are several treatment options available for molluscum contagiosum, including: