molluscum; contagiosum; lump; virus; molluscipoxvirus ;
Molluscum contagiosum are small painless pink or pearly white lumps that appear in small groups on the skin, often on the back or chest, and sometimes on the face. They are caused by a virus called the molluscipoxvirus.
They will go away without treatment after several months, and do not cause any scars or other problems.
are they like?
- The lumps of molluscum contagiosum are small (usually 1 to 2 mm across but sometimes up to 5 mm diameter) and look as though they are stuck on top of the skin.
- They have a dimple on top and a white core.
- Usually there are only a few of the lumps, maybe a group of five or so but sometimes a child can have many of these lumps.
- People who have a damaged immune system, such as people infected with HIV can have many lumps widespread over their body, and the lumps can be larger (up to 10 mm).
Picture reproduced with permission SHASTD
- The virus is spread by skin to skin contact and mostly affects children and some young adults.
- The infection can be spread whenever there are lumps present (which can be several months), however since the infection is so mild, there is no need to cover the lumps or to keep children away from any of their normal activities.
- The virus can be spread sexually when the lumps are in the genital area.
- The lumps begin to form 2 to 7 weeks after exposure to the virus.
- The lumps will go without treatment, but this may take several months. Waiting for them to go away by themselves is usually the best option.
- If you are concerned, see your doctor and get some advice on how to treat them.
Department of Health South Australia 'Molluscum contagiosum'
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (USA)
The information on this site should not be used as an alternative to professional care. If you have a particular problem, see a doctor, or ring the Parent Helpline on 1300 364 100 (local call cost from anywhere in South Australia).
This topic may use 'he' and 'she' in turn - please change to suit your child's sex.