Saturday, November 21, 2009Molluscum contagiosum (MC)
viral infection of the skin or occasionally of the mucous membranes. MC
infects humans, other primates and kangaroos. The infecting virus is a
DNA poxvirus called the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). There are 4
types of MCV, MCV-1 to -4, with MCV-1 being the most prevalent and
MCV-2 seen usually in adults and often sexually transmitted. The
incidence of MC infections in young children is around 17% and peaks
between 2-12 years of age. MC affects any area of the skin but is most
common on the body, arms, and legs. It is spread through direct
contact, saliva, or shared articles of clothing (including towels).
adults, molluscum infections are often sexually transmitted and usually
affect the genitals, lower abdomen, buttocks, and inner thighs. In rare
cases, molluscum infections are also found on the lips, mouth and
The time from infection to the appearance of lesions
ranges from 1 week to 6 months, with an average incubation period of 6
weeks. Diagnosis is made on the clinical appearance; the virus cannot
routinely be cultured.
Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum
contagiosum lesions are flesh-colored, dome-shaped, and pearly in
appearance. They are often 1-5 millimeters in diameter, with a dimpled
center. They are generally not painful, but they may itch or become
irritated. Picking or scratching the bumps may lead to further
infection or scarring. In about 10% of the cases, eczema develops
around the lesions. They may occasionally be complicated by secondary
The central waxy core contains the virus.
In a process called autoinoculation, the virus may spread to
neighboring skin areas. Children are particularly susceptible to
auto-inoculation, and may have widespread clusters of lesions.
Natural Treatments for Molluscum Contagiosum:
are a few treatment options that can be done at home. Betadine surgical
scrub can be gently scrubbed on the infected area for 5 minutes daily
until the lesions resolve (this is not recommended for those allergic
to iodine or betadine). However, the ability of iodine to penetrate
intact skin is poor, and without a pin prick or needle stick into each
molluscum lesion this method does not work well.
Australian lemon myrtle
recent study published in the journal Biomedicine and Pharacotherapy
(2004:58(4):245-7)demonstrated resolution of molluscum in children by
treatment with an extract of essential oil of Australian lemon myrtle.
This preparation has been improved upon by the authors of the study,
and is commercially available over-the-counter.
mild cases, over-the-counter wart medicines, such as salicylic acid may
shorten infection duration. Daily topical application of tretinoin
cream ("Retin-A 0.025%") may also trigger resolution. These treatments
require several weeks for the infection to clear.
Apple cider vinegar
spots are also treatable with vinegar. Soak a cotton ball in vinegar
and place on molluscum, then cover the area with an adhesive bandage
for 24 hours. The wart will be gone with only scab remaining.
Doctors occassionally prescribe Imiquimod, the optimum schedule for its use has yet to be established.
infection can also be cleared without medicine if there are only a few
lesions. First, the affected skin area should be cleaned with an
alcohol swab. Next, a sterile needle is used to cut across the head of
the lesion, through the central dimple. The contents of the papule is
removed with another alcohol swab. This procedure is repeated for each
lesion (and is therefore unreasonable for a large infection). With this
method, the lesions will heal in two to three days.
treatments include cryosurgery, in which liquid nitrogen is used to
freeze and destroy lesions, as well as scraping them off with a
curette. Application of liquid nitrogen may cause burning or stinging
at the treated site, which may persist for a few minutes after the
treatment. Scarring or loss of color can complicate both these
treatments. With liquid nitrogen, a blister may form at the treatment
site, but it will slough off in two to four weeks. Although no longer
available in the United States, the topical blistering agent
cantharidin can be effective. It should be noted that cryosurgery and
curette scraping are not painless procedures. They may also leave scars
and/or permanent white (depigmented) marks.
laser therapy for molluscum contagiosum may be the treatment of choice
for multiple lesions in a cooperative patient (Dermatologic Surgery,
1998). The use of pulsed dye laser for the treatment of MC has been
documented with excellent results. The therapy was well tolerated,
without scars or pigment anomalies. The lesions resolved without
scarring at 2 weeks. Studies show 96%–99% of the lesions resolved with
one treatment. The pulsed dye laser is quick and efficient, but its
expense makes it less cost effective than other options. Also, not all
dermatology offices have this 585nm laser.
is a system available from ReBuilder Medical Technologies, Inc. on the web at http://www.molluscum.com
This system uses nano-silver and tea tree oil to stop the lesions. The
system includes shampoo (because the scalp is skin too), bar soap,
liquid hand soap, liquid bandage3 to seal open lesions, an ointment for
large areas and an electrical device that infuses the silver directly
into the lesion without the need to open the lesion.
To prevent molluscum contagiosum from spreading:
•Try not to scratch. Put a piece of tape or a bandage over any bumps.
•Avoid contact sports, swimming pools, and shared baths and articles of clothing (towels.)
•If bumps are on the face, avoid shaving.
•If bumps are on the genital area, avoid sexual activity.