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Molluscum Contagiosum


A common viral skin infection, Molluscum Contagiosum causes raised, pearl-like papules or nodules on the skin. They appear as multiple, scattered, small tan or pink little bumps on any part of the skin, including the neck, trunk, arms, legs, buttocks, eyelids, thighs, genitals, and face, etc barring the palms and soles. Lesions may persist from a few months to a few years.

Molluscum contagiosum infection is caused by a virus. The virus is easily spread from person to person but is not harmful. A very contagious infection, Molluscum contagiosum gets easily transmitted from person to person via direct skin-to-skin contact or through contaminated objects like toys, doorknobs or tap handles, sharing razors, clothing or towels, public swimming pools, shared bathtubs, or hot tubs. Scratching or rubbing the eruptions spreads the virus to the nearby skin.

The bumps appear pink in color or flesh-colored on the skin and are round in shape with a dimple in the center. They either appear alone or in groups and may become inflamed and turn red as your body fights the virus. However, they don't cause pain. Most affected people get normally about 10 to 20 bumps and in case of people with a weakened immune system, the number of bumps will be even more. People with AIDS are likely to have 100 or more bumps. The bumps are said to appear about seven weeks after infected person gets exposed to the virus that causes molluscum. Sometimes, the bumps do not appear for many months, lying dormant all the while.

Molluscum contagiosum occurs most commonly in children, especially those younger than age 12. The virus spreads through direct contact. It usually affects the face, neck, armpit and hands, but may occur anywhere on the body except the palms and soles.  Around 17 per cent of young children are infected with the virus which peaks between 2-12 years of age.

They also occur in teens and young adults on genitals, vide mainly sexual contact with infected persons. Wrestlers, swimmers, gymnasts, massage therapists, and people who use steam rooms and saunas also can get it by sharing same infected towels, clothing, saunas, etc.

The extreme importance of Molluscum contagiosum gets amplified considering the rise in the growing population of immuno-compromised people with AIDS, who may have rapidly worsening cases of molluscum contagiosum. Medical survey reveals that five to twenty per cent of patients with HIV have symptomatic molluscum contagiosum virus.

The report also confirmed that medical issues concerning molluscum contagiosum that require immediate medical care are bleeding, secondary infections, itching and discomfort, potential scarring. Also social factors like disrupted cosmetic appearance, fear of embarrassment, fear of transmission to others and social exclusion need to be tackled on a strong footing.