Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum is a benign dermatological condition that is exceedingly common in childhood. It is caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) – a DNA pox virus – that is distantly related to the human papilloma virus. There are four main subtype (I-IV) with MCV I being the most common. There is an increased incidence in children with atopic dermatitis.

They start off as little pimples before slowly growing in size.  They are classically described as umbilicated pearls – small creamy raised bumps with a central pit. They can be found anywhere on the body but appear to be more common in the nappy area, in the axilla and on the face and head.

Most molluscum pimples clear without scarring. In fact, aggressive treatment is more likely to leave a permanent mark. Reasons for treating (from the 2009 Cochrane review) include: discomfort and itching; cosmesis; social stigma; preventing spread, scarring, or secondary infection. Traditional remedies rely on irritating the spots thus accelerating the immune response. Once the head of the lesion has been destroyed and the waxy core removed then the virus is destroyed. These include taping, Burow’s solution, potassium hydroxide, imiquimod, cryotherapy, or laser therapy.

Read Andy Tagg’s DFTB post for more info