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Molluscum Contagiosum | Overview

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.

Molluscum Contagiosum | Symptoms & Causes

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.

Molluscum Contagiosum | Testing & Diagnosis

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.

Molluscum Contagiosum | Treatments

Treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum in Children

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)

Molluscum Contagiosum | Programs & Services