Molluscum Contagiosum is a self-limited viral infection that is transmitted through skin to skin contact. It is very common in children. Molluscum Contagiosum is characterized by skin colored lesions that are sometimes umbilicated. In most patients, they last about 6 months and then undergo spontaneous remission, however they may last up to 2 years in some people. They don’t always need treatment. However if not treated they may continue to spread. Treatment options include freezing with liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy), canthecur (blistering beetle extract), curettage or use of topical prescription creams like imiquimod (Aldara) or Tazorac.
How does molluscum contangiosum spread?
Molluscum is spread either by direct skin-to-skin contact or touching someone who is already infected with the HPV virus. Typically in school, kids are constantly touching one another and playing around thus molluscum virus very easily spreads among kids. There are two population of patients that are very susceptible to molluscum. This includes wrestlers and gymnasts. This is because these population of patients are constantly touching the mats that are infected with the virus. In addition, molluscum can spread in the form of a sexually transmitted disease as well. In the adults that are sexually active, sexual contact may cause a spread of molluscum viruses particularly in the genital area.
Who is most susceptible to molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is commonly seen in kids. Patients who have AIDS, or are HIV positive or have a weak immune system are also susceptible.
How is molluscum diagnosed?
Molluscum contagiosum presents as flat-topped growth with a central umbilication or hole. They can typically occur anywhere on the body and are classically diagnosed by a dermatologist. Usually no biopsies are needed.
Can molluscum be spread from one part of the body to another?
Yes. Scratching may cause the spread of molluscum virus from one part of the body to another. In fact, children that scratch at the infected areas and then touch their genital areas can spread the virus to their genital areas.
Will molluscum contagiosum eventually go away on its own?
Yes. Molluscum should eventually resolved on its own without any treatment. However this may take months. In order to facilitate the resolution of molluscum contangiosum, dermatologists typically will treat it with liquid nitrogen, canthecur or topical creams.
What is the treatment for molluscum contagiosum?
There are many different forms of treating molluscum contagiosum. Liquid nitrogen is used to freeze the lesions. Canthecur, blister beetle extract, may be applied for an hour and then washed off. This will induce a blister which will kill the molluscum contangiosum. Dermatologist may also curette the lesions in order to completely get rid of them. Finally, topical creams may also be used. For example, tretinoin, Tazorac, or Aldara can be used alone by themselves or in combination in order to prevent the spread and also cause resolution of these viruses.
For the most part, Dr. Behnam used a combination of liquid nitrogen, curettage, as well as topical creams such as Aldara or Tazorac in order to get rid of the virus.
What is usually the outcome of molluscum contagiosum?
The prognosis of molluscum contagiosum is very good. Typically, the lesions go away within 2 years; however, the use of liquid nitrogen, Canthecur, and topical creams such as Aldara and Tazorac will help with hasten the resolution of the molluscum contagiosum lesions.
Tips for molluscum contagiosum:
Do not scratch at the areas.
If you have moluscum contangiosum in the genital areas, please avoid sexual contact as it could spread from one person to another.
Avoid sharing towels or personal items such as razors, clothing, etc