In this article, we will talk about a benign lesion of the skin surface called “Molluscum contagiosum”, which is caused by the Pax-virus. Pearly and dome-shaped granules (papules) with depression in the middle, about two to five millimeters in size, with the following characteristics.

White bumps surrounded by a pink halo (If the lesion is inflamed, it will be red and swollen.)

Lesions in people are usually seen as a group, but the lesions may appear individually.

Molluscum contagiosum lesions are usually not itchy

They are painless (unless they have secondary infection and inflammation)

Except for the palms and soles of the feet, lesions can appear on any part of the body (so, contrary to popular believes, they are not limited to the genital area)

Losses in immunocompromised individuals will be chronic, prolonged, and extensive

It is sunken in the middle of these lesions, which is one of their diagnostic features and is called (umbilical cord).

Complication of musculoskeletal muscle is more common in childhood. In children, umbilical dome lesions are more common in the limbs, abdomen and torso.


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Molluscum contagiosum in children

Molluscum contagiosum lesions are very common in children with atopic dermatitis, because in atopic dermatitis, the barrier of healthy skin (which is the body’s defense barrier) is destroyed, so the way for the infectious agent to enter and form molluscum Is open.

Sometimes in children with molluscum contagiosum, we see a red halo and scaling around the lesion, indicating eczema alongside the infectious molluscum lesion. Controlling eczema and avoiding stimulants along with topical medications can relieve the lesion.


Is leukemia also seen in adults?

Although Molluscum contagiosum is more common in children, it is not limited to childhood. In adults, the lesions are usually present in the genital areas, groins , and lower abdomen and are transmitted following sexual contact.


Does the smallpox vaccine protect against the virus?

As we have said, the cause of Molluscum contagiosum disease is a type of virus from the Pax virus family or the smallpox virus family.

It should be noted that even people who were vaccinated against classical smallpox were not immune to the virus that causes molluscum contagiosum.


What is the Incubation period of this virus?

The incubation period of the virus will be two weeks to six months, during which time a person can be a carrier of the virus and infect people in contact with it.


Ways of transmission of Molluscum contagiosum

In adults except the direct sexual contact, the following can cause transmission of the virus:

It should be noted that the virus that causes Molluscum contagiosum is located in the epidermis, the most superficial layer of the skin, and does not enter the bloodstream, and it is not possible to spread the disease through coughing and sneezing.


Is Molluscum contagiosum virus curable?

Molluscum contagiosum infection is a self-limiting disease, so in an immunocompromised person it clears up automatically within six to twelve months, but in immunocompromised people it can take up to four years.

In summary:


Molluscum contagiosum and immunodeficiency

Molluscum contagiosum lesions in AIDS patients and immunosuppressed patients (such as those who have had organ transplants and are taking immunosuppressive drugs or people with rheumatic diseases who have been taking immunosuppressive drugs for a long time) with the following differences: You can see:


Who is most at risk?

The virus has a higher risk in some people and will carry more risks for them. These people include the following groups:


Differential diagnoses of Molluscum contagiosum

This virus can cause conditions similar to other viruses in the human body. Among the diseases that need to be differentiated from this virus are the following:

Treatment of contagious molluscum

In general, the disease is self-limiting in healthy people, meaning that a healthy person’s immune system will be able to remove the virus from the body. Therefore, in healthy people (without immunodeficiency) treatment should be done only in the following cases:


Types of treatment for molluscum contagiosum

There are several treatments for this virus, but depending on the unique conditions of the infected person, the following can be used:

The above methods must be performed by an experienced and specialized physician. Never evacuate or dig up the lesion yourself, as there is a possibility of infection spreading and scarring of the manipulated site.


Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with oral drugs

Topical podophyllotoxin cream half a percent

Apply a sufficient amount of cream on each lesion. The important point of this drug is its prohibition in pregnant women. This drug is very toxic to the fetus, so it should be avoided during pregnancy.


Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with oral drugs

For the gradual elimination of the lesion, especially in children, painless treatment with oral drugs is performed.

We use oral medications for children and people who are unable to tolerate cryotherapy and laser, and for people with a history of keloids and hypertrophic scars.

Oral cimetidine is very effective, especially in lesions of the body and organs in children, but facial lesions do not respond well to this drug.


Other treatment recommendations


Treatment of molluscum contagiosum in people with AIDS and immunodeficiency 

These people are usually resistant to the treatments mentioned above, in other words, their lesions do not respond well to the above treatments.

Treatment of large and advanced lesions in immunocompromised individuals includes:

Intravenous injection of interferon (This treatment is usually annoying for patients due to unpleasant side effects of interferon such as fatigue, pain and regional tenderness, and mild flu-like syndrome.

This method is somehow effective.

And in people with immunodeficiency (and AIDS), strengthening the immune system is the most effective treatment for molluscum contagiosum.

Interferon therapy is more effective in healthy adults than in immunocompromised patients.