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Molluscum Contagiosum – Pictures, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Updated on December 19, 2013

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

It is a viral infection that normally affects the children. It results in the formation of painless papules, which fade off automatically within a year. Injury to the papules or activities such as scratching can lead to infection and spreading.

On uncommon occasions, adults also get affected by molluscum contagiosum. Adults with venereal diseases are more likely to be affected by the condition. Persons of reduced immune system are also affected by the viral condition.

Contact with an infected person or with a contaminated material can result in the spread of contagious molluscum contagiosum. Hence immediate medication to treat the condition is essential.

Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum

Some of the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are discussed below:

  • The skin condition results in the formation elevated, flesh-colored, circular papules or bumps on skin surface.
  • Such bumps have dot on top which distinguishes them from other skin infections and lesions.
  • Papules are of 2 to 5 mm, or a quarter of an inch diameter and hence not that big in comparison with other types of skin infections
  • The bumps can be get ridden off easily by rubbing and scratching, but that may lead to spreading of infection to other areas of the skin that are adjacent to the area infected by molluscum contagiosum.
  • Among children the papules generally tend to occur on their neck, face, hands, arm pits and arms. For adults, it can be a sexually transmitted disease which normally tends to affect the genitals, buttocks, inner side of upper thighs, and lower abdomen.
  • A weak immune system may sometimes result in severe reactions of the affected skin and the nearby areas, which can result in a red, inflamed condition of the skin known as molluscum dermatitis.
  • Molluscum contagiosum is not the same as from genital warts and does not cause any severe health problems. However, the affected persons should get a medical checkup done, to confirm the presence of STD’s.
  • Sometimes the itchy lesions if rubbed can result in growth and spread of new infections. Moreover, molluscum contagiosum on eye lids can lead to conjunctivitis.

Causes of Molluscum Contagiosum

The causes and risk factors of molluscum contagiosum are listed below:

  • It is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus which belongs to the poxvirus family.

The virus can spread in the following ways:

  • Any kind of sexual intimacy with an infected person
  • Direct skin to skin contact
  • Indirect spread of virus through contact of materials like toys, tables, doorknobs, and faucet handles.
  • Shaving, scratching and rubbing of lesions can spread infection to adjoining areas of skin.
  • For people with poor immune system, the molluscum contagiosum virus, can cause extreme form of lesions.
  • Individuals who are required to travel and contact people for work, are at greater vulnerability to get infected by molluscum contagiosum, as it is contagious in nature. Hence, such individuals should extra precautions and maintain greater personal hygiene while travelling.

Treatment of Molluscum Contagiosum

  • In most cases with people who have a good immune system, molluscum contagiosum resolves on its own and tends to vanish within six months to a year. On rare occasions, it may take more than a year to get cured.
  • Children with underdeveloped immune systems and those with impaired immune system, may have to endure the condition for more than a year for its effective resolution and cure.

As the molluscum contagiosum can spread quickly from person to person through direct and indirect contact, the affected person should go for immediate treatment.

Molluscum contagiosum can be treated by the following methods:

  • The use of cryotherapy or freezing, wherein the lesions are put under extremely low temperature through different means.
  • Destruction of papules with laser therapy
  • Currettage or scrapping of papules by medical equipments.

As these procedures are painful, anesthetics are prescribed before medical procedures are administered.

  • Topical drugs are used to eliminate warts, remove the bumps and to treat psoriasis and acne. Doctors generally combine topical medications with surgery to treat molluscum contagiosum.
  • People with immune system disorders should consult doctors for resolving the skin condition.
  • Persons affected by dermatitis in the region of the papules and those who are constantly itching may use hydrocortisone ointments or creams available in market. They may also use prescribed topical steroids. Care should be taken that such steroids are applied only on the areas affected by dermatitis and not on molluscum contagiosum lesions.
  • People with molluscum contagiosum should take extra care to maintain extraordinary personal hygiene to prevent the spread of the condition. Washing hands, covering the papules, avoiding sexual or skin to skin contact, avoiding rubbing or scratching the papules and avoidance of sharing private items with others are just some of the ways to contain the molluscum contagiosum virus.

Molluscum Contagiosm Pictures

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