Diagnosis of Malluscum Contagiosum

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Diagnosis is made on the clinical appearance; the virus cannot routinely be cultured. The diagnosis can be confirmed by excisional biopsy but is often unnecessary.

Symptoms

Molluscum contagiosum lesions are flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and pearly in appearance. They are often 1–5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled center. They are generally not painful, but they may itch or become irritated.

Picking or scratching the bumps may lead to further infection or scarring. In about 10% of the cases, eczema develops around the lesions. Bleeding may occur if the lesions are scratched.

The viral infection is limited to a localized area on the topmost layer of the epidermis. Once the virus containing head of the lesion has been destroyed, the infection is gone. The central waxy core contains the virus.

In a process called autoinoculation, the virus may spread to neighboring skin areas. Children are particularly susceptible to autoinoculation, and may have widespread clusters of lesions.

Individual molluscum lesions are usually self limiting and can go away on their own. The infection is generally 6 weeks to 3 months. However via a process call “autoinoculation”, in which the infected person reinfecting one’s self. The disease may propagate lasts longer with mean durations variously reported as 8 months, to about 18 months, and with a range of durations from 6 months to 5 years.