Pediatric Molluscum

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What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection caused by a member of the Pox virus family. This prevalent infection causes firm, pink papules most commonly in the skin folds and genital region of young children. The infection is occasionally seen in adults as a sexually transmitted disease.

What do molluscum infections typically look like?

Molluscum infections cause small pink bumps, that often have a central dimple or are “umbilicated.”  The bumps are often surrounded by inflamed skin that resembles an eczematous dermatitis.  The skin folds such as armpits and groin area are typically affected, and the outbreaks range in severity.  Some individuals have few lesions that involute spontaneously, but patients commonly present with more than 50 lesions at their first visit.

How are molluscum treated?

Our goal is to eradicate the infection as quickly as possible, while minimizing scarring and pain. Methods used include topical immunomodulators, curettage, cantharidin, incision and drainage, and liquid nitrogen.  Despite aggressive treatment, this infection can persist for many months, and multiple visits are usually required.

What is the expected course of molluscum infection?

In most cases, patients develop immunity to the virus and the infection resolves within one year.  Unfortunately, the lesions can increase in number and are contagious until immunity develops.

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