All you need to know about Molluscum Contagiosum!
Molluscum Contagiosum: Causes, Risks, and Prevention
What is Molluscum Contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a common contagious skin infection caused by a virus, and appears as non-itchy or painless, raised papules or nodules on the skin.
What are the signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) of two variants:
MCV 1 is the most common type of virus which usually attacks children under the age of 15 years.
MCV 2 is sexually transmitted and occurs in adults.
If you are infected with the molluscum contagiosum virus it takes about 2 to 8 weeks (maximum up to 6months) to see symptoms.
Molluscum bumps are neither itchy nor painful and appear as very small, shiny, firm, white to pink, dome-shaped with a dimple in the middle. The size between 2 to 5 mm and can occur anywhere, predominant over the face, arm, abdomen. Usually, the palms and soles are spared. The bumps appear in a small group or alone.
It can be a sign of HIV and many other immune disorders if the:
Bumps size of 15 mm.
Bumps appear first in the genital area and involving the face. (as a sexually transmitted disease)
Long-term effects of molluscum contagiosum infection:
If left untreated, this infection resolves itself within 4 to 12 months, but in some cases, it may lead to:
· Bacterial infections-get secondarily infected with bacteria.
· Eye involvement – if the bumps are near the eyes it causes conjunctivitis or keratitis.
· Skin pigmentation or scar: once the lesions are healed it may leave cause discoloration or tiny scars
However, early treatment or removal and preventing measures help in the spreading of the disease.
Risk and Prevention
What are the risk factors for molluscum contagiosum?
Anyone can get infected with molluscum contagiosum virus by touching the lesions with bare hands since it is contagious. The following people are the increase risk factors of getting infected:
Weak immune system eg: organ transplants or cancer treatment.
Live in tropical climates and crowded or densely populated area
Contact sports such as wrestling or football,
How can molluscum contagiosum be prevented?
The best way to prevent getting molluscum contagiosum is to avoid touching the skin of an infected person. It spread by direct contact; it is the advice of the patient to cover the infected area with a cloth or waterproof bandages. Following these suggestions can also help you prevent the spread of the infection:
•Wash hands with warm water and soap.
•Avoid sharing personal items such as towels, clothing, soaps, etc.,
•Avoid using shared sports gear that may have come in direct contact with someone else’s bare skin.
•Avoid touching or picking the infected areas of your skin..
•Avoid shaving or using electrolysis where the bumps are located.
•Avoid sexual contact if you have bumps in the genital area.
•Avoid public lockers.
•Avoid using equipment that has been used previously to an infected patient.
How is molluscum contagiosum treated?
Medication and surgical treatments are available, but in most cases with a good immune system, you don’t require treatment as the lesions fade away without medical intervention.
However, it justifies treating as it is a contagious disease; and can spread from one area to another in the same individual.
Medication therapy: Topical cream such as retinoic acid cream or imiquimod or podophyllotoxin cream and oral immunomodulators such as levamisole can be used. Antiviral cidofovir (topical or intravenous) is effective in extensive involvement. Antiretroviral therapy for a patient suffering from HIV and molluscum contagiosum, it can work to strengthen the immune system to fight the virus.
Interventional therapy is advised if medical therapy fails to work or our body’s immune system does respond to the infection to heal on its own.
Curettage, the doctor pierces the bump and scrapes it off the skin with a small tool.
Chemical therapy containing trichloroacetic acid or cantharidin which is applied by skin professionals
Cryotherapy: to freeze each bump with liquid nitrogen.
Electrosurgery: This is using a small probe with an electric current to cauterize the skin tissue.
Laser treatment: ablative lasers such as co2 and erbium YAG laser to destroy each lesion.
The most effective treatments for molluscum contagiosum are the interventional therapy performed by a dermatologist.