molluscum contagiosum

Last reviewed 01/2018

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin disease characterised by firm, round, translucent, multiple, dome shaped, pearly white or flesh coloured, umbilicated papules of up to 5mm in diameter containing caseous matter and peculiar capsulated bodies (1,2).

It is usually a benign, self limiting viral infection caused by a DNA virus of pox family (3). Spread of the infection is probably through direct skin-to-skin contact and lesions may occur in any part of the body (2).

This is a relatively common childhood eruption specially in children who swim and who bathe together. Also may occur in immunosuppressed children (1).

Note however that this condition may also occur in

  • adults presenting to STD clinics where the disease has been transmitted during sexual conatct
  • immunodeficient patients e.g. - AIDS (3)

It has an incubation period that varies from 3 to 12 weeks (3).

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