Understanding Molluscum Contagiosum: Symptoms, Transmission, and Treatment Options

Molluscum Contagiosum


Molluscum contagiosum is the name of the virus that causes the skin eruption of the same name. It is a very common infection that can affect both children and adults. The virus is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact or by contact with a surface or an object carrying the molluscum (such as a towel, for instance).


The symptoms of molluscum contagiosum are the appearance of small, flesh-coloured growths shaped like "bubbles". Generally, molluscs do not produce any symptoms, pain, or itching. They can appear on any part of the body except the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet where they are extremely rare.


Molluscum contagiosum usually heals by itself without any complications over a period that can range from months to 1-2 years. Treatment is optional and should be carried out to prevent spreading to other areas of the skin.


How did I contract molluscum?

Molluscum contagiosum is contracted through direct skin-to-skin contact or with a contaminated surface. This means:

1. From one area of the body to another through scratching or touching.

2. Person-to-person contact through touching the skin.

3. By contact with a contaminated object or surface, such as a towel.


Skin lesions usually appear 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to the virus. The diagnosis is clinical by observation of the lesions by a specialist and does not require any additional diagnostic tests.



In a healthy patient, molluscum usually disappears after a few months, although molluscums can persist for 1 or 2 years in some cases.


Treatment of molluscums in children is optional as the molluscums tend to resolve naturally without leaving marks. One of the reasons to treat molluscum in children might be to prevent the spread to other parts of the body or to close contacts like siblings or friends.


There are various treatment options:

1. Freezing the molluscums (Cryotherapy).

2. Scraping off the molluscums (Curettage).

3. Topical treatments that stimulate local immunity.


None of the treatments has been shown to be superior to the others, so the choice of treatment depends on the location and the preference of the children and their parents. The side effects of treatment include pain, local irritation, and anxiety during the procedure.