Molluscum contagiosum

logo ... illustrating dermatology

molluscum contagiosum (detail)
What is molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection that affects the skin. Although it can occur at any age it most commonly affects children before the age of 6.

Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum

In the majority of cases the only symptom of molluscum contagiosum is a number of small 2-5 mm raised papules on the skin. The lesions are very often grouped together in clusters and have a pearly grey color. On top is a flat white spot. If the top ruptures, a thick white-grey substance will be released.

What is the cause of molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a highly contagious virus known as the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). The virus can be spread through skin-to-skin contact with an infected person In adults they are usually more persistent but in a large majority of cases they clear up eventually. It can be spread easily among young children at school.
Adults can also develop molluscum contagiosum. In most cases only a single lesion will develop. When adults develop multiple lesions a weakened immune system may be the cause of this.


In healthy children, molluscum contagiosum usually clears up on its own within 18 months. In general, treatment for molluscum contagiosum in children is not recommended. The infection does not usually cause any other symptoms apart from a mild itch and treatment may be painful and may sometimes result in scarring.
Do not squeeze spots because this increases the risk spreading the virus.

molluscum contagiosum
                      on the arm

                      contagiosum in the face

molluscum on the
                        trunk, one infected lesion
molluscum contagiosum
                      on the arm, large lesions

Further reading on mollusca contagiosa

a-z index       disclaimer