Molluscum Contagiosum

General Illness Information

Medical Term: Molluscum Contagiosum

Common Name: None Specified

Description: A harmless viral infection characterized by shiny, pearly white bumps on the skin surface.

Causes:

  • The causative factor is the DNA virus of the pox group
  • This virus may be transmitted by local or sexual contact.
  • The incubation period is 2 weeks to 6 months.

Prevention: Contact avoidance.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Papules (small, raised bumps on the skin) with the following characteristics:
  • Bumps are firm, smooth, domed with a central pit, and pearly in appearance, usually 2mm to 4mm in diameter.
  • Bumps are painless and also not itchy. They may cause some eye irritation if located on the eyelids.

Risk Factors

  • Immunosuppressive drugs, HIV.
  • Most affected people have no identifiable risk factors.

Diagnosis & Treatment

The diagnosis is made on clinical grounds.

General Measures:

  • Medical treatment in the doctor’s office to remove the papules with liquid nitrogen. This procedure is relatively painless.
  • After treatment with liquid nitrogen, leave the blisters alone. The tops will come off spontaneously in 7 to 14 days.
  • Keep blisters dry. Cover any irritated lesions with small adhesive bandages.
  • Alternatively, your doctor may decide to remove the lesion with a scalpel or a needle.

Medications:

  • Medicine usually is not necessary for this disorder.
  • In some cases, cantharidin (Cantharone) or other topical medication to kill the virus may be prescribed. These topical medications may be harmful to normal skin. Follow the doctor’s and package instructions closely.

Activity:

No restrictions, except to avoid sexual relations until bumps disappear.

Diet:

No special diet.

Possible Complications:

  • Bacterial infection.
  • If untreated, rarely scarring may occur.

Prognosis

If untreated, a few papules may increase to 20 to 50 lesions in several weeks. They usually disappear within a ten to twenty weeks. The prognosis is excellent.

Other

Nothing Specified.