- Dr. Sanja
Molluscum Contagiosum [Pox Virus]
Molluscum Contagiosum [MC] is a pearly skin lesion filled with white filling created by the virus called Pox virus. People with eczema are more susceptible to it and it is more common in toddlers or school-age children. MC can appear anywhere in the body, except palms and soles
Is it contagious?
Yes, it is, but affects people whose immune system favours this infection, primarily children in nurseries and primary schools more the others.
It spreads through the direct skin-to-skin contact, through contaminated objects such as towels, sexual activity, scratching the lesions and sharing the contaminated objects.
Does it spread through swimming pool?
It is not clear, very unlikely. All you need is to cover the lesions with a waterproof plaster.
Do I need to be excluded from the school?
No – cover the lesion for school and with waterproof plaster for the swimming pool.
How do we diagnose them?
By visual inspection, they have a central umbilicated area and white filling, size can vary
- We can physically remove them.
- We can use cryo liquid nitrogen to freeze them – this procedure is giving a burning feeling, so a local anesthetic is required.
- Medicated creams are not recommended in children.
- Lesions can feel itchy, especially if we see them on the eczema skin, secondarily infected by bacteria fungus or other viruses are possible, in that case, treatment options can be hard.
Most importantly, MC will gradually disappear over time; in individuals with a normal immune system, it may take weeks, months and even longer. During this time lesions can spread, that is why they require treatment. They also have other side effects, their appearance is not pleasant, therefore it might become embarrassing for a child. In immune-compromised people, they can become extreme and the only treatment options will be surgical removal or prolonged viral medications.
Written by – Dr. Sanja Mulabegovic. Pediatrician & Pediatric Infectious Disease Specialist – TCMC.