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Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Overview

    Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease that causes small pink or skin-colored bumps on your child's skin. As the disease progresses, the bumps tend to have small sunken centers.

    • Molluscum contagiosum is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms.
    • The virus is inside the bumps and is mildly contagious over an extended period of time.
    • In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over a period of six to nine months.
    • Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults.

    »
    Children's Hospital Boston
    300 Longwood Avenue
    Boston MA 02115
     (617) 919-2900
     fax: 617-667-1742


  • In-Depth

    What is molluscum contagiosum?

    Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease of the skin that causes small pink or skin-colored bumps on your child's skin. It is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms. The virus is inside the bumps and is mildly contagious. These bumps usually clear on their own in six to nine months.

    What causes molluscum contagiosum?

    Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the poxvirus. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults.

    What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?

    The bumps are small and are usually pink or skin-colored. Eventually, the bumps tend to have a small, sunken center. The number of lesions a child has is usually between two and 20, with lesions often occurring in groups or clusters. They are not harmful but may cause some cosmetic concern for the child if they appear on the face or other visible areas.

  • Tests

    How is molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?

    Molluscum contagiosum is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of your child. Because the lesions are unique, the condition can typically be diagnosed through a simple physical examination. Additional tests are not routinely needed for diagnosis.

  • In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over a period of six to nine months. Additional treatment options may include:

    • removal of the lesions
    • use of topical medications (to speed the healing of the lesions)
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