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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