Sample date: April 21, 2014

A mix of sun and cloud. Becoming cloudy this afternoon. Wind becoming southwest 20 km/h late this morning. High 22. UV index 7 or high.

Temp
7.2C

Environment Canada
Text Size >   A   A   A

Printer Friendly

Communicable Diseases Links

Food Borne Illness

Influenza Virus

Information on Aids and HIV

Sexually Transmitted Infections

Molluscum Contagiosum

This page was reviewed or revised on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 1:38 PM

What is it?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease caused by a virus. The disease is generally mild and should not be a reason for concern or worry.

The infection causes small white, pink, or fleshcoloured bumps or growths with a dimple or pit in the centre. These bumps are usually found on the trunk, lower abdomen, pubic area, genitals or inner thighs. They may be confused with genital warts.

They may become sore, red, and swollen but are usually painless. The bumps normally disappear in 6-12 months without treatment, and without leaving scars.

Is it contagious?

The infection can be passed from person to person by direct contact with skin bumps or by touching objects that have the virus on them, like towels, clothing or toys. People with the skin infection can spread the disease to other areas of their own body by touching or scratching the bumps and then touching another part of the body.

It can also be spread by sexual contact.

The bumps can form from 7 days to 6 months after contact with an infected person.  They can grow slowly for weeks or months, or they may remain unchanged for years.

How is it diagnosed?

It can be diagnosed by a visual exam by a dctor, or the doctor may test material from the centre core of the bump and examine it under a microscope.

How is it treated?

In most cases, the bumps disappear on their own, and no treatment is needed. Sometimes treatment, such as burning or freezing, is necessary if bumps are numerous or annoying.

Can my child go to child care or school?

There is no need to stop children with molluscum contagiosum from attending child care or school. Bumps that are not covered by clothing should be covered with a bandage. Children with bumps in the underwear or diaper area, and who require assistance when toileting, should cover the bumps if possible.

Prevention

  • Handwashing is the best way to prevent the spread of molluscum contagiosum.
  • Do not touch, pick, or scratch the bumps or blisters. The affected person should avoid scratching bumps or blisters on their own skin or anyone else's. Picking and scratching can spread the virus to other parts of the body and makes it easier to spread the disease to other people.
  • Keep bumps covered. It is important to keep the areas with bumps covered with clothing or a bandage to prevent contact with the bumps.
  • Avoid, or be careful with contact sports, activities that share equipment and swimming unless clothing or bandages cover all bumps.
  • People with molluscum should not take part in contact sports such as wrestling, basketball and football.
  • Avoid activities that use shared gear. Helmets, baseball gloves, and balls are examples of shared gear.
  • Swimming should be avoided.
  • Do not share personal items such as towels, goggles, and swimsuits. Other items and equipment, such as kick boards and water toys, should be used only when all bumps are covered.

What is PDF? PDF stands for Portable Document Format and is a way of distributing documents over networks while ensuring they always print the same. To view PDF files, you need either the Foxit Reader (1.1 MB) or Adobe Reader (27.7 MB)