Acquired through skin-to-skin or fomite contact in children and is sexually transmitted in adulthood.
Lesions appear as umbilicated, pearl-like, smooth papules. At least one third of patients will develop symptoms of local erythema, swelling or pruritus.
Diagnosis is usually clinical.
Children are primarily managed conservatively. Adults should be treated with curettage, cryotherapy or cantharidin. However, available treatment options are the same for both adults and children.
Complications relate to treatment; discomfort, secondary infection of the wound or scarring may occur.
This condition is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus, a ubiquitous poxvirus that escapes immune destruction for months to years. Lesions are cutaneous (less commonly mucosal). They appear as pearl-like, smooth papules, which are umbilicated. The histologic equivalent of epidermal collections of molluscum bodies is referred to as Henderson-Patterson bodies; virally infected keratinocytes with a central orifice. Lesions are generally caused via skin-to-skin or fomite contact in children and by sexual transmission in adults.
History and exam
Nicholas Francis, PhD, MD, BA, MRCGP
Professor of Primary Care Research
School of Medicine
University Hospital of Wales
NF declares that he has no competing interests.
Dr Francis would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Nanette B. Silverberg, a previous contributor to this topic.
NBS declares that she has no competing interests.
David M. Ozog, MD
Director of Cosmetic Dermatology
Department of Dermatology
Cosmetic and Procedural Dermatology
Henry Ford Health System
DMO declares that he has no competing interests.
Anthony Ormerod, MB, ChB, MRCP, FRCP(Edin), MD, FRCP(Lond)
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Andrea Bershow, MD
VA Medical Center
AB declares that she has no competing interests.
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