What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum is a common dermatological infection occasionally involving the mucous membrane. This is caused by a Molluscum contagiosum virus, a member of Poxvirus family.

The mode of transmission is commonly via skin-to-skin contact, including sexual contact. Handling personal objects that have been contaminated with the virus such as towels and clothing is another way of transmission.

Classically, pink or flesh-colored dome-shaped pearly lesions appear anywhere on the skin seven weeks after being viral exposure. The bumps have a surface that feels smooth and waxy. The lesions have a dimple in the center filled with a thick, white cheesy substance. Most people will get about 10 to 20 bumps on their skin. In situations where the person has a weakened immunity, many bumps will appear. In AIDS patients, they can have more than 100 bumps. Additional bumps appear on other areas of the body after scratching the lesions as the virus spreads to the adjacent skin areas in the process called autoinoculation. Regularly, the bumps come out on the face, neck, arms, hands, genitals, thigh, abdomen, and armpit.

A dermatologist can surgically remove the individual lesions by cryosurgery (freezing the lesions with liquid nitrogen), curettage (scraping), laser surgery and topical therapy (Tricholoracetic acid). There is a need for the dermatologist to repetitively perform the process every three to six weeks if the bumps are larger and too many. Doctors may prescribe medications to be taken at home such as Imiquimod and retinoid.

Most of the cases resolve naturally in 2 years. When the therapy has resulted in its eradication, the infection is completely treated and will not recur if not reinfected again. As long as the lesions are clinically exhibited, there is a high risk of transmitting the viral infection to other individuals. The risk ends when the lesions are gone.



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