Molluscum Contagiosum - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Molluscum Contagiosum Definition
Molluscum contagiosum is an infectious disease of the skin. Molluscum contagiosum may be caused by a virus of the family Poxviridae and it may be characterized by the appearance of small, pearly, umbilicated papular epithelial lesions containing many inclusion bodies. It is frequently seen on the face, neck, arm pit, arms, and hands but may occur anywhere on the body except the palms and soles.
Molluscum contagiosum may be marked by round white swellings; transmitted from person to person. It is most often in children or in adults with impaired immune function. It produces no systemic illness and poses no public health significance.
Molluscum Contagiosum Causes
Molluscum contagiosum are wart-like tumors of the skin caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus , a DNA poxvirus. Typically, the lesion of molluscum begins as a small papule which may become raised up to a pearly, flesh-colored nodule. The papule often has a dimple in the center. These papules may occur in lines, where the person has scratched. Scratching or other irritation causes the virus to spread in a line or in groups (crops).
This condition is commonly found in young children and affects the body, arms, and legs. It is spread through direct contact, saliva, or shared articles of clothing. Molluscum contagiosum is a chronic infection and lesions may persist from a few months to a few years. These lesions ultimately disappear without scarring. (Unless there is excessive scratching, which may leave marks.)
Molluscum Contagiosum Symptoms
After an incubation period of 2-7 weeks, a molluscum contagiosum rash begins as tiny papules (small raised bumps), each measuring 3-6 mm . Some lesions may be as large as 3 cm across. The rash only rarely involves the mouth, palms, or soles.
The skin lesion commonly has the following qualities:
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatments
In people with normal immune systems, the disorder usually disappears spontaneously over a period of months to years.
Molluscum lesions may go away on their own in six to nine months, but treatment is recommended to prevent auto-inoculation and to avoid infecting other people.
Pulsed dye laser therapy for molluscum contagiosum may be the treatment of choice for multiple lesions in a cooperative patient.
The most popular treatments are scraping of the lesions, or removal using heat or cold (called cryotherapy, and performed with liquid nitrogen).
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