Pronounced: mo-lus-kum kon-ta-je-o-sum
by Patricia Kellicker, BSN
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection.
The molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) causes the infection. MCV spreads from contact with someone who has it. This can happen through:
It can also spread from one part of your body to another. This happens mainly with your hand.
Your chances of molluscum contagiosum are higher if you have:
Bumps generally appear on the face, trunk, arms, and legs of children. The groin, belly, and inner thighs are common places on adults.
Molluscum contagiosum may cause:
These problems may last from many weeks to many years.
The bumps on your skin point to molluscum contagiosum. A biopsy can rule out other causes. A skin sample is checked under a microscope.
In most cases, molluscum contagiosum doesn’t need care. It will go away on its own within 6 to 9 months.
In others, the bumps may linger or spread. This can be more of a problem for people with HIV. Your doctor may remove the bumps. This will help lower the chances of spreading it on you or to other people.
Procedures may involve:
To lower your chances of getting molluscum contagiosum, avoid contact with someone who has it.
If you have it, don’t:
American Academy of Dermatology
American Sexual Health Association
Canadian Dermatology Association
Public Health Agency of Canada
Molluscum. American Sexual Health Association website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. American Academy of Dermatology website. Available at: https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/contagious-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed... . Updated August 20, 2015. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Molluscum contagiosum. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/dermatologic-disorders/viral-skin-diseases/molluscum-contagiosum. Updated October 2016. Accessed June 20, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2019 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcie L. Sidman, MD
Last Updated: 6/20/2018
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.