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Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a generally benign human disease characterized by multiple small, painless, pearly lesions.
  • MC appears on epithelial surface and spreads through close contact or autoinoculation.
  • Confined to the skin and mucous membranes
  • 5–20% of patients with HIV have coinfection with MC.
  • Found worldwide with an incidence of 2–8%, with higher distribution in tropical areas


  • MC is caused by a double-stranded DNA poxvirus of the Molluscipox genus
  • Transmission in children is by direct skin-to-skin contact, fomites, or pool or bath water.
  • Transmission in adults is most often by sexual contact; autoinoculation is common at any age.
  • There are rare reports of transmission to infants during childbirth.

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Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Molluscum Contagiosum." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307007/all/Molluscum_Contagiosum.
Molluscum Contagiosum. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307007/all/Molluscum_Contagiosum. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Molluscum Contagiosum. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307007/all/Molluscum_Contagiosum
Molluscum Contagiosum [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307007/all/Molluscum_Contagiosum.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Molluscum Contagiosum ID - 307007 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307007/all/Molluscum_Contagiosum PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -