Molluscum Contagiosum

What Is It?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease caused by a virus that causes clusters of tiny, firm, flesh-colored or pearly bumps. The infection is mainly spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. The bumps or lesions appear at the site of contact anywhere on the body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum, but the vast majority of those who get it are children. Most people who get this condition are otherwise healthy. However, people with HIV or other immune-suppressing diseases can more easily become infected.

Symptoms

Usually, the only symptom of molluscum contagiosum is the tiny bumps on the skin. These flesh-colored or pearly growths look somewhat like tiny pimples with a central crater. A waxy substance may come out of the bumps when they are squeezed. Itching may also occur.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »