Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that causes small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may be clear and are often indented.

Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children, especially those younger than age 12. In children, bumps usually appear on the trunk, face, and arms. In sexually active adolescents and young adults, the bumps are usually located in the genital area. The bumps are contagious but not harmful, although in people who have an impaired immune system, such as HIV infection, the symptoms are more severe.

In healthy people, treatment is not necessary because the bumps usually go away on their own in 2 to 4 months, although they may last longer. Treatment options include scraping out the center of the bump (curettage), applying medication directly to the bumps (topical medication), and freezing the bumps (cryotherapy).

Last Updated: October 24, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Alexander H. Murray, MD, FRCPC - Dermatology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.