More illustrative Molluscum contagiosum (contagiosa) is a commonly found skin infection, especially among children, which looks like small, pearl shaped, pinkish white eruptions on skin. It is a viral infection. It is also found in adults who are immunodeficient due to some reason. The infection is most common between the age of one to ten years. Molluscum Contagiosum can affect any area on the body but is usually observed on the face, arms and legs. Molluscum contagiosum is caused by DNA pox-virus called the Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV).
It is a benign self-limiting infection which presents in the form of rounded, pearl shaped eruptions. The lesions are flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and pearly in appearance. They are usually 1–5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled center. They are generally not painful, but they may itch or become irritated. If it bursts, it can become painful and even may get infected due to some secondary bacterial infection. Picking or scratching the bumps may lead to further infection or scarring and bleeding.
In about 10% of the cases, eczema develops around the lesions. They may occasionally be complicated by secondary bacterial infection. Being viral in origin, it spreads by skin contact and touch. The lesions shown above shows how infection has spread to nearby areas. The picture on the left also shows an infected form of Molluscum contagiosum.
Scratching the bumps and then touching the skin or through sex contact is the most common way it spreads from one part to the body to another. Handling objects that have the virus on them, such as a towel, can also result in infection. The virus can be spread among children at a day care or at school. It is limited to a localized area on the topmost layer of the epidermis. Children present with clusters largely due to self-spread.
Even after successful treatment, it can recur, since it does not give life long immunity. About one in twenty young people are infected at some time with Molluscum contagiosum. Diagnosis is made on the clinical examination. No blood test or biopsy is required.
Molluscum contagiosum is a self-limiting condition, which means that it gets cured if untreated. However, in that case, it may take up to six months. Some treatment measures may shorten the duration and reduce the changes of spread. It is contagious until the bumps are gone-which, if untreated, may be up to 6 months or longer. The time from infection to the appearance of lesions ranges from 2 week to 6 months, with an average incubation period of 6 weeks. The Molluscum virus cannot be routinely cultured in the laboratory.