Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious and common viral infection of the skin, often seen in childhood, mainly affecting infants and children under the age of 10 years. Adolescents and adults are less often infected. Lesions present as clusters of small dome-shaped papules, and can be white, pink, or tan. They often have a waxy or shiny look and a small central pit. There may be a few or hundreds of papules on one individual. They tend to arise in warm moist places, such as the armpit, behind the knee, groin, or genital skin. They do not occur or palms or soles. When mollusca are auto-inoculated by scratching, the papules often form a row.
There are several ways it can spread:
Transmission of mollusca appears to be more likely in wet conditions, such as when children bathe or swim together. In addition, the virus can be transferred via shared sports equipment, such as baseball gloves, wrestling/gymnastics mats, and football helmets.
To reduce spread:
Treatment of molluscum contagiosum involves local destruction of virus-infected cells.
Treatment options include:
In immune-competent hosts, molluscum contagiosum is relatively harmless, and many cases do not require treatment. Skin lesions may persist for up to 2 years or more, however, half of cases clear by 12 months, and two-thirds by 18 months. Contact with another infected individual later on can lead to a new crop of mollusca.
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