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Broom House, Quarrywood Court, Livingston EH54 6AX

Molluscum contagiosum in children and adults

Mięczak zakaźny – choroba, która dotyka nie tylko dzieci

Molluscum contagiosum (lat. molluscum contagiosum) is a skin disease caused by the MCV virus of the smallpox group (Poxvirus). It comes in four variants, with the first MCV-1 variant responsible for the majority of infections. The virus is not dangerous, but it can significantly reduce the quality of life. It is worth taking treatment to shorten the course of the disease and reduce the risk of scarring.

Molluscum contagiosum – causes

Children up to 5 years of age and adolescents and adults aged 15-30 are most susceptible to infection with the virus. People who suffer from atopic dermatitis and are immunocompromised (e.g. in the case of HIV infection) are particularly susceptible to the disease. Among young adults, MCV is most commonly transmitted sexually.

The virus can also be contracted as a result of contact with the affected skin or secretions coming out of the lesions. For infection to occur, contact does not have to be direct. The very use of the same everyday objects, e.g. toys, towels, bath sponges, causes the transmission of the virus. Infection also occurs in public places such as swimming pool, sauna or gym. Young children are often infected in nurseries, kindergartens or playgrounds.

Molluscum contagiosum – symptoms

The first symptoms usually appear 2 weeks after infection, but can occur much later, even after a few months. The lesions usually take the form of small (about 0.5 cm) hard lumps, sometimes with a characteristic depression in the middle. Most often they have a flesh-colored, white, yellow or pearlescent. They occur singly or in clusters. People with reduced immunity may have a lot of changes that merge with each other, forming larger bumps or clusters on the skin. The disease most often affects the skin of the trunk, armpits and groin. Molluscum contagiosum can also occur on the face, chest, legs and arms. Lesions are least common on the hands and feet. In people who became infected during intimate contact, molluscum contagiosum in men affects the skin of the member, and in women the pubic hillock, labia majora, gluteal fissure, groin and inner thighs.

What does molluscum contagiosum look like and what are the characteristic signs of infection:

  • singlee or forming clusters of white, yellow, flesh or pearl lumps with a characteristic depression in the middle, their diameter is usually a few m m;
  • lesions are most often asymptomatic, itching rarely occurs;
  • esions are most often asymptomatic, itching rarely occurs;

Diagnosis and treatment of molluscum contagiosum

Skin lesions in the case of molluscum contagiosum infection are very characteristic and the dermatologist most often makes a diagnosis at the first visit. If in doubt, the doctor may take a fragment of the lesion or secretion and then send the sample for laboratory examination.

Lesions orasem disappear on their own after a few months, but they can persist and spread to other areas of the body for up to several years. Itis not worth giving up treatment for at least two reasons. Firstly, the disease can last for many months or years, and scratched lesions can leave scars, and secondly: the sick person will also infect others.

Therefore, if we suspect molluscum contagiosum or have other changes that worry us, it is worth consulting a specialist. The dermatologist will look at the changes and select the optimal treatment.

Treatment of molluscum contagiosum:

  • topical drugs – in the case of single lesions, it is enough to wash them with a 5% solution of potassium hydroxide, 5% salicylic acid solution, tretinoin, iodine, silver nitrate or podophyllotoxin. The type of solution and the frequency of its use is determined by the doctor.
  • surgical treatment – A dermatologist may recommend cryotherapy, laser therapy, electrocoagulation, curettage or excision.

After treatment, regardless of the method used, scars, discoloration or discoloration of the skin may remain, which disappear over time.

If you suspect molluscum contagiosum in yourself or your child, be sure to contact our dermatologist Dr Joanna Salomon.

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