Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease of the skin that causes small, pink bumps on the skin. It is not harmful and usually does not result any other symptoms. It is common worldwide and accounts for about one percent of all skin disorders in the United States.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the molluscipox virus. A person can contract MC by having direct contact with a person who has the infection, or by indirect contact with shared items, such as clothing, towels, and washcloths. It is unknown how long a person is contagious. The period between exposure and development of symptoms can range from one week to six months.
Molluscum contagiosum is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination. Additional tests are not routinely ordered. In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over a period of six to nine months. Removal of lesions reduces the rate of spread to other people as well as from one part of the body to another, which happens by touching the lesions (called autoinoculation).
It is common worldwide and accounts for about one percent of all skin disorders in the United States. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the molluscipox virus. A person can contract MC by having direct contact with a person who has the infection, or by indirect contact with shared items, such as clothing, towels, and washcloths. It is unknown how long a person is contagious.
Molluscum Contagiosum is not a reportable disease in Oklahoma.
Good personal hygiene is important to prevent the spread of this disease.
- Avoid contact with skin conditions such as bumps or blisters, whether they are yours or someone else’s.
- Good hand hygiene is the best way to prevent infections, especially skin infections such as molluscum. Wash your hands often, especially after touching other people or surfaces.
- People with molluscum must keep the infected area clean and completely covered with clothing or a watertight bandage to prevent spread to themselves or others. If bandages become loose or soiled, replace with a new bandage at once. At night the bandages can be removed if there is no chance of contact with others. Replace bandages each morning.
- Do not share towels, washcloths, or clothing.
- Do not shave areas with bumps.
- Avoid sexual activities if you have bumps in your genital area. See your health care provider regarding treatment of molluscum in the genital area.
In most cases, the bumps will heal slowly without treatment. Removal of lesions can slow or stop the spread to other people or other parts of the body. Genital lesions in adults should be treated to prevent spread through sexual contact. Some treatments include cryotherapy (freezing), curettage (removing the fluid inside the bumps), lasers, or medications such as creams or pills. Discuss these treatments and their side effects with your healthcare provider.