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Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that causes small pearly or flesh-coloured 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 teenagers and young adults, the bumps are usually located in the genital area. The bumps are contagious but not harmful. In people who have an impaired immune system, such as HIV infection, the symptoms are more severe.
In healthy people, treatment is not needed, because the bumps usually go away on their own in 6 to 9 months, although they may last longer. Treatment options include scraping out the centre of the bump (curettage), applying medicine directly to the bumps (topical medicine), and freezing the bumps (cryotherapy).
Current as of: November 15, 2021
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Brian D. O'Brien MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine & John Pope MD - Pediatrics
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