What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
The molluscum virus enters the body through hair follicles, scratches, and tiny breaks in the skin resulting in localised infection.15 Molluscum is a skin virus not a blood based virus.
For many people, contact with the virus will produce no symptoms because they are resistant. Where resistance is not present, molluscum bumps will begin to grow after an incubation period of two to eight weeks.
Molluscum begins as tiny pin-sized white/pearly bumps often in clusters of several up to hundreds. They are difficult to see in this initial stage.
|Tiny skin colored bumps||Clearly visible pearly bumps||Pus heads often with centre dimple||Burst & scratched with risk
of bacterial infection
After several days they develop into small pearly raised bumps. Over time they grow into 2-5 millimetre16 pus filled lesions often with a characteristic dimple (or dell) on the surface.
Molluscum lesions which are pierced, scratched or burst run the risk of secondary bacterial wound infection. Piercing and scratching molluscum also contributes to spreading the virus.
Common on the torso, thighs, groin and genital area, molluscum warts can affect all parts of the body and are often associated with dermatitis and eczema skin rash.
Molluscum generally infects children, parents & relatives of infected children, sexually active adults, and people with immune deficiency.
The molluscum contagiosum virus is transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or indirectly via, for example, toys, towels or clothing. Child care centers and schools as well as public pools are potential places for infection. For mature adolescents and adults sexual contact can be a source - molluscum contagiosum is also an STI.
Studies have shown an association between swimming, bath sharing and molluscum contagiosum. Living in close proximity, skin-to-skin contact, sharing towels, clothes, bedding, toys, and living in warmer climates are also associated with higher rates of molluscum infection.11,12
Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection member of the Pox virus family. Also known as Water Warts or Dell Warts, molluscum is common worldwide with an estimated 170 million sufferers, 3% of the world's population.