Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that causes
small pearly or flesh-colored bumps. The bumps may be clear and are often
Molluscum contagiosum is most common in children, especially those
younger than age 12. In children, bumps usually appear on the trunk, face, and
arms. In sexually active teens and young adults, the bumps are usually
located in the genital area. The bumps are contagious but not harmful. In people who have an impaired immune system, such as HIV infection, the
symptoms are more severe.
In healthy people, treatment is not needed, because the bumps
usually go away on their own in 6 to 9 months, although they may last longer.
Treatment options include scraping out the center of the bump (curettage),
applying medicine directly to the bumps (topical medicine), and freezing
the bumps (cryotherapy).
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.