Baltimore Status Update


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What is molluscum?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin condition caused by a virus called molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). It is most common among young children (aged 1 to 10) and people with weakened immune systems (such as people with HIV or under treatment for cancer).

How is molluscum spread?

  • Sexual contact
  • Close skin-to-skin contact
  • Sharing towels, bathtubs, and sponges

How can I prevent giving or getting molluscum?

  • Avoid intimate contact with people who may be infected
  • Don’t share towels, bathtubs, or sponges with people who may be infected
  • If you have sexual contact when you or your partner has molluscum contagiosum, use male latex condoms, female condoms, dental dams, latex gloves, or other barriers to reduce your risk of transmission

Can I still infect others with molluscum if I don't have symptoms?

No. You can only infect others if you have visible bumps or symptoms. These may be small and hard to see, so make sure to see a healthcare professional if you see any noticeable red marks in your genital region.

Am I more infectious with molluscum at certain times?

You are most infectious when you have outbreaks of growths or bumps.

What are the symptoms of molluscum?

Most people with Molluscum never develop symptoms. If you have symptoms, you will notice painless bumps on the skin. These bumps are usually raised, round, flesh-colored, very small, and have an indentation on top. They can become red and inflamed, and may be removed by scratching.

What is the treatment for molluscum?

Usually no treatment is needed because bumps can disappear on their own within 6-12 months. If this is the case, you should make sure that you cover yourself to prevent spreading it to someone else. If the bumps do not away, a doctor can use Cryotherapy (freezing the bump off), curettage (removing the waxy material in the center of the bump), or medication (to put on the bumps) to treat them.

What will happen if I have molluscum, but I don't get treated?

Most people with molluscum do not need treatment.

How can I get tested for molluscum?

A doctor can diagnose molluscum. It is diagnosed by looking at the skin or by looking at a sample of a bump under a microscope. Sometimes the sample is tested in a laboratory following examination.