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Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common infection of the skin, causes by a virus. It can affect all ages, but is more commonly seen in children and young adults. It appears as small dome-shaped bumps that may clear on their own or may spread, increase in number, itch, and cause a rash.

Causes: Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a member of the poxvirus family. It is harmless but contagious and can be spread by skin-to-skin contact, scratching or rubbing the infected skin, or contact with a wet surface harboring the virus.

Symptoms: Once becoming infected with the virus, those who are not immune will begin to experience symptoms after two to eight weeks. The most obvious symptom is the small, pearl-like bumps that appear on the surface of the skin, called papules. These bumps usually have a dimple or dent in the middle of them. The bumps are dome-like in shape and usually flesh-colored when first sighted. After time, they may turn red in color and drain a white, waxy substance. On occasion, a papule may become large, inflamed, and appear infected, but then resolve itself spontaneously.

Treatment: After several months, Molluscum contagiosum can resolve itself without treatment, but most people seek treatment due to the infectious nature of the lesions that can spread to family, friends, and the public. Treatment by your dermatologists depends upon the number and location of the lesions and the age of the patient. Treatments may include topical retinoids, antivirals, imiquimod, catheradin, liquid nitrogen, cautery, or scraping the lesion. Treatment requires patience, as it is common for new lesions to appear as treated lesions resolve.

*Results may vary per patient.