Molluscum Contagiosum

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
How does one get Molluscum Contagiosum?
What are the signs and symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum?
How is Molluscum Contagiosum diagnosed?
How is Molluscum Contagiosum treated?
Is there any aftercare required following Molluscum Contagiosum treatment?
How is Molluscum Contagiosum prevented?

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is an infection of the skin caused by poxvirus.

It is a common disease and has a higher incidence in children, those who are sexually active and those who are immunocompromised (advanced HIV disease of on immunosuppressive medications). Many debate whether it is a true STD.

How does one get Molluscum Contagiosum?

The virus is spread through skin to skin contact and from scratching the bumps then touching normal skin.

Handling objects such as towels can also spread the virus which may be picked up in swimming pool changing areas.

What are the signs and symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum?

The rash consists of crops of pearly domes shaped bumps from 1 to 5 millimetres in diameter with a depression in the centre.

It can affect any area of the skin but is most common on the trunk and limbs. It is generally not painful, but may occasionally be itchy. Bacterial infections may occur at the site of the rash (impetigo).

How is Molluscum Contagiosum diagnosed?

Molluscum contagiosum is diagnosed clinically by the appearance of the rash.

It may be mistaken for genital warts.

How is Molluscum Contagiosum treated?

Most cases of molluscum contagiosum are ‘self limiting’, the rash goes away without treatment in 2-3 months. It is recommended that genital molluscum contagiosum be treated to limit spread. Treatment is also recommended if there is bleeding, bacterial infection or itch.

Similarly, embarrassment is a treatment indication as is limiting scar formation. Modes of treatment include freezing with liquid nitrogen and/or application of prescribed preparations

Is there any aftercare for Molluscum Contagiosum?

Following successful treatment of the molluscum contagiosum, the virus does not persist in the body (unlike herpes). The person has no permanent immunity to the virus, so re-infection may occur.

How is Molluscum Contagiosum prevented?

It is very difficult to prevent the sexual spread of molluscum contagiosum, apart from abstinence while the lesions are present. Once gone, the person is non-infectious.

Condom use dose not offer much protection, as the rash is usually in the groin or pubic area not covered by the condom.

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