As the name suggests Molluscum contagiosum is a highly contagious viral skin infection, commonly known as water warts. Molluscum contagiosum occurs most frequently in children and is spread from person to person by touching the affected skin or a surface with the virus on it. So if someone in the family is affected, keep their towels, washcloths, toys and clothing separate to avoid spreading it amongst the others in the household. Scratching the spots / papules can release the virus increasing its spread, both to others and to other areas of the skin not yet affected. Try and discourage those affected from doing this.
As the virus prefers warm and moist conditions, it is possible Molluscum contagiosum could be spread by sharing swimming pools, baths or saunas, however this remains unproven. It is more likely that the virus is spread by sharing towels and swimsuits rather than through water.
What does Molluscum contagiosum look like?
Usually, the only symptom of Molluscum contagiosum is several small, raised, firm bumps (papules) on the skin. These are not painful, but can be itchy, red, swollen or slightly sore. One of the common names for Molluscum contagiosum is ‘water-warts’, which is a good way of describing its appearance. It also looks somewhat like small raised blisters with dome-like papules of between 2 and 6mm in diameter, which have a shiny or lustrous surface and are often grouped together. The spots often have a depressed or wrinkled (umbilicated) centre. The affected skin is often of normal colour, but sometimes can appear slightly red or lighter, particularly on darker skins.
In contrast with classical warts, Molluscum contagiosum is not usually found on the palms of hands or soles of feet. A yellowy-whitish mass can be squeezed out of the centre (however, this is not advised as this substance contains the virus, is highly infectious, and can rapidly increase the spread of the spots).
Where does Molluscum contagiosum affect?
The papules are usually distributed over the face, trunk, limbs and armpits in children.
Treatment:There is now a fast working solution called MolluDab®distributed by Alliance Pharmaceuticals in the UK. MolluDab® is available on prescription and over the counter from pharmacists across the UK. It comes with a sophisticated micro-groove applicator that’s precise and easy to use and protects healthy skin. Simply dab it onto the molluscum bumps twice a day.
Prior to the introduction of the MolluDab® treatment, which has been hugely successful in Germany and Europe for several years, GPs in the UK had no licensed topical treatment to offer patients and the condition often took 12-18 months to clear on its own.