Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum ContagiosumMolluscum contagiosum is skin disease caused by a virus. The disease causes small pearl-shaped or flesh-coloured bumps to appear. Although the molluscum contagiosumvirus can spread very easily, in most cases, it is not harmful.

Image Content Provider: CDC – Dave Bray, MD, WRAMC

Symptoms

Symptoms generally appear two to seven weeks after being exposed to the virus. Less often, it takes up to 6 months.

Symptoms can include pearl-shaped or flesh-coloured bumps on the skin. The bumps may appear alone or in groups. The most common areas of infection are the face, eyelids or genital area. They generally do not cause pain.

Occasionally, the bumps may become inflamed and turn red. This is a sign that the body is fighting the virus. Those with weakened immune systems may have larger bumps than usual. They may require special treatment.

Causes

The most common way of spreading is through skin-to-skin contact. This includes touching the bumps of an infected person and sexual contact. The virus can also move within one person from one area that’s infected to another that’s not.

The infection is most often seen in children (through non-sexual spread). The virus can also be spread through personal items such as towels, clothing and toys. The infection is contagious until all the bumps are gone.

Treatment

For most infected people , treatment is not needed. This is because the bumps usually go away on their own within two to four months. Some people may choose to have the bumps removed for appearance reasons or to reduce their risk of spreading the virus. If treatment is needed, it can include freezing the bumps, scraping them off, taking pills, or applying an ointment, liquids or creams.

Prevention

You can prevent the spread of molluscum contagiosum by practicing good hygiene. Do not scratch the bumps. Take care not to shave your face if it has bumps. In situations where it’s likely that others might touch the bumps, always place a bandage or a piece of tape over them. If bumps appear in the genital area, avoid sexual contact. Always use a condom to reduce the spread of molluscum and other sexually transmitted infections.


Other Resources

Communicable Disease Control
Active Living, Population and Public Health
Manitoba Health, Seniors and Active Living
4th Floor - 300 Carlton St.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
R3B 3M9
CANADA
Phone: 204-788-6737
Fax: 204-948-2190

Health Links – Info Santé
204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257