Molluscum contagiosum

Last reviewed: 26 Aug 2022
Last updated: 20 Aug 2021

Summary

Definition

History and exam

Key diagnostic factors

  • pearly papule with a central dell
More key diagnostic factors

Other diagnostic factors

  • surrounding erythema
  • facial or groin distribution of lesions
  • pruritus
  • atopic dermatitis
  • sleep disturbance
Other diagnostic factors

Risk factors

  • close contact with an infected individual
  • sexual contact with an infected individual
  • atopic dermatitis
  • immunocompromise
  • tropical climate
  • swimming
More risk factors

Diagnostic investigations

Investigations to consider

  • dermoscopy
  • curettage biopsy
  • hematoxylin and eosin staining
  • full sexual health screen including HIV test
More investigations to consider

Treatment algorithm

ACUTE

immunocompetent

immunocompromised

Contributors

Authors

Nicholas Francis, PhD, MD, BA, MRCGP

Professor of Primary Care Research

Primary Care Research Centre

School of Primary Care, Population Sciences and Medical Education

University of Southampton

Southampton

UK

Disclosures

NF declares that he has no competing interests.

Acknowledgements

Dr Nicholas Francis would like to gratefully acknowledge Dr Nanette B. Silverberg, a previous contributor to this topic.

Disclosures

NBS declares that she has no competing interests.

Peer reviewers

David M. Ozog, MD

Director of Cosmetic Dermatology

Department of Dermatology

Cosmetic and Procedural Dermatology

Henry Ford Health System

Detroit

MI

Disclosures

DMO declares that he has no competing interests.

Anthony Ormerod, MB, ChB, MRCP, FRCP(Edin), MD, FRCP(Lond)

Consultant Dermatologist

Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

Aberdeen

UK

Disclosures

None disclosed.

Andrea Bershow, MD

Staff Dermatologist

VA Medical Center

Minneapolis

MN

Disclosures

AB declares that she has no competing interests.

  • Molluscum contagiosum images
  • Differentials

    • Warts
    • Deep fungal infection (Cryptococcosis and Penicillium marneffei)
    • Herpes simplex virus
    More Differentials
  • Guidelines

    • 2020 European guideline on the management of genital molluscum contagiosum
    • UK national guideline for the management of genital molluscum in adults
    More Guidelines
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