Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of skin or mucuous membrane. The infection causes single or multiple raised papules on the skin. This condition is highly contageous and can be spread to person to person by touching the affected skin or by touching a surface with the virus on it or by sexual contact.

This infection occurs worldwide but is more common in warm, humid climates.

Symptoms : Most common symptoms of the condition are given below :

  1. The lesions or papules are flesh-colored and pearly in appearance
  2. Generally 1–5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled center.
  3. Most of the cases the lesions are generally not painful but they may itch
  4. Picking or scratching may lead to further infection or scarring known as autoinoculation.
  5. The most common site of infections are trunk of the body, arms, groin, and legs.

Cause : The infection is caused by the virus known as Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). This virus belongs to the family Poxviridae or pox virus family. There are 4 types of MCV, MCV-1 to MCV-4 among which MCV-1 infection is most prevalent in human and MCV-2 are often sexually transmitted infection.

MCV cannot routinely be cultured.

Unlike Herpes virus Molluscum contagiosum virus not remain dormant in the body for long periods and then reappear. However, there is no permanent immunity to the virus, and it is possible to become reinfected.

Diagnosis :

Diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum primarily is made on the clinical appearance and can be confirmed by excisional biopsy.

Treatments :

Normally the treatment of molluscum contagiosum is not needed because it usually clears up spontaneously after 12-18 months. But with immunocompromised person ((i.e. HIV-infected persons or persons recieving chemotherapy) medication is needed. Treatment is also needed for lesions in the genital area to prevent them from spreading.

The advantage of early treatment is to hasten the resolution of the virus and this limits the size of the scar. It is seen that if left untreated  the growth of the lesions can reach sizes as large as a pea or a marble, the spontaneous resolution of the lesions can leave a larger, crater-like growth.

Medications :

Topical application of salicylic acid and tretinoin cream

Imiquimod had been proposed as a treatment for molluscum contagiosum.

Surgical therapy : In some cases where the spots are unsightly and affect the quality of life may be treated with surgical procedure. The surgical treatments include :

Cryosurgery : The lesions or bumps are destroyed by freezing them using liquid nitrogen.

Curettage : Scraping off the lesions with a curette.

Laser therapy : Pulsed dye laser therapy may be used for cases, that do not resolve following other measures.