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Molluscum contagiosum

20 March 2013, by TRAVASSOS A.R.


Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a common viral infection, presenting as small, flesh-colored growths on the skin. MC is spread from person to person by touching the affected skin or by sharing fomites (personal objects such as towels, clothing or toys). Only health care professionals will make the diagnosis, discuss the need of treatment and possible therapeutic options.

Adult patient should understand that MC behaves as a sexually transmitted disease, however not preventable with the use of condom, since transmission occurs though skin-to-skin contact.

Parents of children with MC must be aware that this viral infection is not harmful and should not prevent a child from attending day care or school. However, lesions should be covered with clothes or watertight bandages, preventing transmission, spreading to other parts of the body or secondary (bacterial) infections. Sharing of personal objects (as towels, toys or other equipment) should be avoided or at least they must be routinely disinfected. 

Utilization of swimming pools has been associated to a higher risk of MC spread in some studies, however it has not been proven yet. It is unclear whether it is caused by water activities or, more probably, by other related activities (such as close contact and sharing personal objects). Moreover, since patients with open wounds or breaks in the skin are at a higher risk of infection by other germens, they should no attend to swimming pools.

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