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Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum1

Molluscum Contagiosum2

General Information
Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral skin infection caused by a large DNA poxvirus. The infection is mainly seen in children, though adults can also be affected. Molluscum Contagiosum is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact with other individuals or by articles that have been touched by an infected person. The infection can also spread by touching the infected location and then touching another part of the body. The asymptomatic lesions may be located on any area of skin or mucous membrane. Lesions have an appearance of small papules at first, and then they develop into larger papules with a dimple like center that contains white material. Molluscum Contagiosum usually goes away on its own over a period of months to years, although treatment may be beneficial because of how contagious it is. Treatment may include scraping or curettage, cryotherapy or laser therapy. Topical anesthetic can be prescribed for discomfort.

Epidemiology
Often affects children, accounts for 1% of skin virus in United States

Etiology
Caused by a virus that is a member of the poxvirus family, contagious by skin contact

Pathogenesis
An incubation period of two to seven weeks then a rash begins

Clinical
Tiny papules measuring between 3-6mm, after time the center become indented with a core

Histology
Epidermis is acanthotic, basal cells are slightly larger and more columnar than normal with dense and granular nuclei, and basal keratinocytes are enlarged

Bibliography
1. “Molluscum Contagiosum” (Online). May 2007. http://www.emedicine.com/derm/TOPIC270.HTM (visited: March 25, 2008) 2. “Molluscum Contagiosum” (Online). February 2008. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/molluscum-contagiosum/DS00672/DSECTION=1 (visited: March 25, 2008)

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