Molluscum Contagiosum



  • Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a generally benign human disease characterized by multiple small, painless, pearly lesions
  • Resolution is usually spontaneous in healthy patients in 6–9 mo
  • 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
  • The extent of molluscum infection correlates inversely with the CD4+ T-cell count
  • 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
  • Usually enters through a small break in the skin
  • 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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