Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that causes small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may be clear and are often indented.
Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children, especially those younger than age 12. In children, bumps usually appear on the trunk, face, and arms. In sexually active teens and young adults, the bumps are usually located in the genital area. The bumps are contagious but not harmful. In people who have an impaired immune system, such as HIV infection, the symptoms are more severe.
In healthy people, treatment is not needed, because the bumps usually go away on their own in 6 to 9 months, although they may last longer. Treatment options include scraping out the center of the bump (curettage), applying medicine directly to the bumps (topical medicine), and freezing the bumps (cryotherapy).
Last Revised: October 10, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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