What is Molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a benign viral infection and appears with characteristic skin lesions. The cause of the infection is the Molluscum contagiosum virus. The virus incubation period is 2-7 weeks. This infection occurs in children, but also in adults. In children, it may be transmitted during activities in swimming pools or gyms, while in adults it can be transmitted through sexual contact.

Likewise, skin lesions in children may be identified on the face and the trunk, while in adults they usually appear occur more often in the pubic, genital or perianal area.

How does molluscum contagiosum manifest?

The lesions caused by Molluscum contagiosum virus consist of small, umbilicated, skin-coloured papules that are usually small – with a diameter of 2-5 mm (rarely up to 1 cm in the case of older lesions that have been left untreated). The papules are rounded, dome-shaped and contain a caseous plug in the centre.

How can molluscum contagiosum be treated?

Although this infection is not dangerous, its treatment contributes in reducing its spreading –virulence and the auto-inoculation of the virus. Treatment methods include:

  • Application of various topical medications imiquimod, tretinoin, trichloroacetic acid, lactic acid, salicylic acid, potassium hydroxide solution, etc.),
  • Crushing and removal of the lesions with forceps,
  • Cryotherapy,
  • Diathermocoagulation,
  • Laser treatment.

Repeat treatment is usually required if the cutaneous lesions re-appear and/or new lesions appear due to virus proliferation. It is therefore recommended, after the treatment, to have regular skin examinations to avoid relapses and to permanently eradicate the virus.