What is Molluscum Contagiosum ?


Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection which mainly affects children. It is caused by a pox virus. It is usually acquired through direct contact but may be contracted by sharing a bath, towels or clothing. Children often pick up the infection while playing together.

What are the clinical features of this condition?


This condition appears as small dome shaped bumps, which appear pearly and translucent. There is usually a central indentation on the surface of these lesions. This is referred to as umbillication. The bumps may sometimes extend along a line especially at points of scratching.


What are the treatment options for this condition?


Molluscum contagiosum is a self limiting condition and often goes away on its own within about 6 months in most children. If there are only a few bumps, they could quite safely be ignored.


Treatment may be considered under the following circumstances: 


  • if the number of bumps are increasing
  • if there are signs of decreased immunity- eg. topical steroids applied to the site
  • if the bumps are spreading to household contacts.


The treatment options include the following: 


  • Topical irritants – Duofilm (salicylic acid&lactic acid) paint/ retinoids
  • Topical Cantharidin paint (Blister beetle extract)
  • Imiquimod (Aldara) cream –apply 3x week
  • Cryotherapy
  • Electrocautery and curettage