Molluscum contagiosum results in raised, round, flesh-colored bumps on the skin. The bumps:
- Are small — typically under about a quarter inch (approximately 2 to 5 millimeters) in diameter
- Characteristically have a small indentation or dot at the top
- Can become red and inflamed
- Can be easily removed by scratching or rubbing, which can spread the virus to adjacent skin
In children, the bumps typically appear on the face, neck, armpits, hands and arms. In adults, molluscum contagiosum may be a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and is usually seen on the genitals, lower abdomen, inner upper thighs and buttocks.
When to see a doctor
If you suspect you or your child has molluscum contagiosum, consult your family doctor or a dermatologist.
Apr. 03, 2012
- Molluscum contagiosum. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merck.com/mmpe/sec10/ch122/ch122b.html?qt=molluscum%20contagiosum&alt=sh. Accessed Nov. 28, 2009.
- Wynnis T, et al. Molluscipoxvirus infection: Molluscum contagiosum. In: Wolff K, et al. Fitzpatrick's Dermatology in General Medicine. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2008.
- Aziz N, et al. Sexually transmitted diseases in pregnancy. In: Klausner JD, et al. Current Diagnosis & Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill; 2007.
- An overview of molluscum contagiosum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/overview.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Clinical information: Molluscum contagiosum. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/clinical_overview.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Recommendations: Patients with molluscum contagiosum and swimming pool safety. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dvrd/molluscum/swimming/swimming_recommendations.htm. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.
- Scheinfeld N. Treatment of molluscum contagiosum: A brief review and discussion of a case successfully treated with adapelene. Dermatology Online Journal. 2007;13:15. http://dermatology.cdlib.org/133/case_reports/molluscum/scheinfeld.html. Accessed Dec. 1, 2009.