What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection that mainly affects children. It is caused by a poxvirus. 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 umbilication. 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