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.
what you will read next :
- Molluscum contagiosum in children
- Is leukemia also seen in adults?
- Does the smallpox vaccine protect against the virus?
- What is the Incubation period of this virus?
- Ways of transmission of Molluscum contagiosum
- Is Molluscum contagiosum virus curable?
- Molluscum contagiosum and immunodeficiency
- Who is most at risk?
- Differential diagnoses of Molluscum contagiosum
- Treatment of contagious molluscum
- Types of treatment for molluscum contagiosum
- Treatment of molluscum contagiosum with oral drugs
- Other treatment recommendations
- Treatment of molluscum contagiosum in people with AIDS and immunodeficiency
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:
- Contaminated toilet towels and napkins
- Bath towel
- Swimming pool
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.
- Lesions are more common in children on the face, trunk and limbs.
- In healthy adults, the inner surface of the groin and lower abdomen is seen through sexual contact, mostly in the genital area.
- In people with immunodeficiency (for example AIDS patients) the disease progresses faster and is more difficult to treat
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:
- Giant lesions: Each papule is larger than one and a half centimeters
- Disseminated and pervasive lesions in several areas of the body
- Their lesions are resistant to classic and common treatments.
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:
- People with weak or defective immune systems such as:
- People with AIDS
- People undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy
- People who have had organ transplants
- People with chronic rheumatic diseases who have been taking immunosuppressive drugs for a long time.
- People with atopic dermatitis (due to broken skin barrier)
- Living in humid and hot geographical areas
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:
- Basal cell carcinoma
- condyloma acuminata
- Genital syringoma
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:
- The lesion should be in a place that is visible. (In terms of beauty, the patient insists on treatment.)
- The patient is afraid of transferring it to his partner.
- The patient has underlying atopic dermatitis.
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:
- Treatment through physical removal of the lesion
- Cryotherapy: The lesion freezes with the help of liquid nitrogen.
- Curettage: Removal of infectious contents of the lesion by perforation of the lesion center
- Laser therapy
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.
- Salicylic acid
- Potassium hydroxide
- Imiquimod (this drug is not approved in children and in adults must be taken with a doctor’s prescription and with strict instructions)
- Avoid taking the above drugs arbitrarily on your skin lesions.
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
- Avoid stress
- Low fat, low sugar, high fiber and protein diet along with healthy fluids
- Enough sleep
- Adequate exercise and physical activity
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.