Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a common infection in childhood caused by a poxvirus (molluscum contagiosum virus). It spreads by skin-to-skin contact and can spread from one part of the body to another, especially in children with atopic eczema.
They appear as single or multiple, small pearly flesh-coloured to pink bumps, sometimes with a small central depression. There may be itch, redness and scaling around the bumps.
Spontaneous clearing of MC may occur over 1 to 2 years and can be left alone, especially in younger children who may not be able to tolerate treatment.
Pricking MC lesions with a needle and expressing the contents can be performed by an experienced nurse, with rapid resolution of the lesions.
For children who are unable to tolerate pricking, topical therapies such as imiquimod cream, tretinoin cream and salicyclic acid may be applied. These have limited effect on MC but may be tried for a few months. Other options include cryotherapy.
Recurrence may be seen after treatment.