Molluscum Contagiosum in Children

What is molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease that causes small pink or skin-colored bumps on your child's skin. It is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms. The virus is inside the bumps and is contagious. These bumps usually clear over an extended period of time (months-years) but may leave residual scar.

What causes molluscum contagiosum?

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the poxvirus. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can affect adults.

What are the symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?

The bumps are small and may develop a sunken center. They can occur alone or in groups or clusters. They are not harmful but can be itchy and may cause some cosmetic concern for the child if they appear on the face or other visible areas.

How is molluscum contagiosum diagnosed?

Molluscum contagiosum usually is diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of the child. Additional tests are not ordered routinely.

Treatment for molluscum contagiosum

Specific treatment for molluscum contagiosum will be determined by your child's doctor based on:

  • Your child's age, overall health and medical history
  • Extent of the condition
  • Your child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures or therapies
  • Expectations for the course of the condition
  • Your opinion or preference

In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over a period of 6 to 12 months, though the virus can last for up to4 years. Additional treatment options may include:

  • Use of topical medications (to speed resolution of the lesions)
  • dermaRemoval of the lesions by using cryotherapy (freezing them off) or curretage (scraping them off)