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- Direct skin to skin contact with an infected person
- Shared items, such as towels or wrestling mats
- One part of a person's body to another area
- Weakened immune system, especially in people with HIV infection
- Poor hygiene
- Overcrowded conditions
- Sexual contact
- Having other skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis
- Small, dome-shaped bumps with dimpling in center
- Painless, but may be itchy or tender
- Appear translucent, pearly or flesh-colored at first then may turn gray and drain
- White or waxy substance in center of lesion
- Usually multiple lesions in groups
- Face, trunk, arms, and legs are common sites in children
- Genitals, abdomen, and inner thigh are common sites in adults
- Can last from several weeks to several years
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- Cryotherapy—freezing of the lesion
- Curettage—cutting out lesion
- Laser surgery—burning of the lesion
- Topical therapy—destruction of the lesion with a variety of chemicals
American Academy of Dermatology http://www.aad.org
American Social Health Association http://www.ashastd.org
Canadian Dermatology Association http://www.dermatology.ca
Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca
Dohil MA, Lin P, et al. The epidemiology of molluscum contagiosum in children. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2006;54(1):47-54.
Hanson D. Diven DG. Molluscum contagiosum. Dermatology Online J. 2003;9(2):2.
Molluscum contagiosum. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: http://www.aad.org/dermatology-a-to-z/diseases-and-treatments/m---p/molloscum-contagiosum. Accessed May 22. 2014.
Molluscum contagiosum. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated September 19, 2013. Accessed May 22, 2014.
Molluscum contagiosum: questions & answers. American Social Health Association website. Available at: http://www.ashastd.org/std-sti/molluscum-contagiosum.html. Accessed May 22, 2014.
Stulberg DL, Hutchinson AG. Molluscum contagiosum and warts. Am Fam Physician. 2003;67(6):1233-1240.
Theos AU, Cummins R, et al. Effectiveness of imiquimod cream 5% for treating childhood molluscum contagiosum in a double-blind, randomized pilot trial. Cutis. 2004;74(2):134-138,141-142.
- Reviewer: Michael A Woods, MD
- Review Date: 05/2014
- Update Date: 05/22/2014