Molluscum Contagiosum

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Molluscum Contagiosum

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What is it?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection caused by a virus.


Who is at risk?

People with a weak immune system might have a more severe infection.

Additionally, children are more likely to get molluscum than adults.


How is it spread?

Molluscum contagiosum is spread through direct contact with the skin of an infected person or by sexual contact. Scratching can also spread the infection

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Signs and symptoms

  • Tiny "pinpoints" appear on the skin one to six months after exposure.
  • The "pinpoints" grow into pinkish-white bumps that are smooth and shiny.
  • Bumps have a dip in the middle and a milky-white liquid inside.
  • Bumps can appear anywhere on the body.


It is usually diagnosed by its appearance but can often be mistaken for a wart.



Sometimes the infection disappears on its own without treatment. Even if treated, molluscum can reappear. Podophyllin, liquid nitrogen or surgical removal can treat molluscum. Treatment may need to be repeated.


Prevention & Control

The use of condoms lowers the chances of contracting molluscum contagiosum through sexual contact. Frequent and proper hand washing is a good practice for preventing direct contact transmission.


Public Health's Role

Although molluscum contagiosum is not a reportable disease, Public Health is available for information and guidance.


Date of Creation: June 1, 2015

Last Modified: June 1, 2015