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Molluscum Contagiosum - A Skin Infection

Aug 26, 2007
The appearance of small, pink, pearl-shaped spots is a viral infection of the skin termed Molluscum contagiosum. This is typically found in children but may occur at any age as well. It is a skin disorder.

Although not a serious disease because it clears up within a few months, it can however last as long as two years. The lesion spreads onto the skin through contact with another individual especially those with eczema or individuals with weakened immune systems. Lesions in healthy individuals may last from 6 to 8 weeks. The lesions may also last for as long as five years with scarring when it becomes infected and new lesions can appear over time with continuous spreading.

A large DNA poxvirus producing a wart like lesion causes molluscum contagiosum. It takes at least 2-7 weeks incubation for its development lasting from months to years without treatment. They may appear as discrete small flesh colored umbilicated papules with a rim of inflammation around the individual warts. Henderson-Paterson bodies which are viral intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies can be seen in the extracted cheesy material from the lesions.

A molluscom contagiosum lesion may appear as having a central core or plug of white, cheesy or waxy material, with a single or usually multiple pink, pearl-like spots on the face, arms and legs, which can be 1 to 5mm in diameter, and a dimple in the center. This may present itchiness, become irritated, tender or painful with 10% exhibiting eczema around the lesions.

Diagnosis for molluscum contagiosum is skin biopsy of the lesion. However, the wart-like lesions of most patients don't have noticeable symptoms. They may be prone only to secondary bacterial infections that obscure or complicate the original condition.

No single perfect treatment for the viral infection is currently used because it's still impossible to kill the virus. Most treatments will involve laser therapy with the larger molluscum frozen using liquid nitrogen (cryotherapy) or scraped away under local anesthesia. Wart paints are also used containing salicylic acid (SSA) or podophyllin. Acne treatments with a mild or soft scrub when showering or the application of tretinoin cream (vitamin A acid) can be used. However, surgery is another option.

For prevention of the spread of the virus, here are some helpful tips:
1. Avoid direct sexual contact until papules are treated and have completely healed.
2. Avoid rubbing, scratching, touching or even shaving over the infected areas.
3. Don't borrow from others or lend them your clothing, towels, hairbrushes or any personal item.
4. Direct contact should be avoided on the skin lesions.
About the Author
Kevin Pederson has written many articles on hair and skin care a guide to important hair and skin care tips. Get educated through the wealth of information on several hair and skin disorders such as Molluscum contagiosum - a viral infection that affects the skin forming papules or lesions lasting for as long as five years if infected.
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