Molluscum Contagiosum (MC)

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection that affects the skin. It commonly affects children, but if you have not met it as a child, you may meet it for the first time during sexual contact at a later age. MC is harmless and usually gets better in a few months by itself without treatment. It can however be easily spread around skin of the body and take up to 18 months or more for symptoms to completely stop.

How do I get it?

MC is passed on through close skin to skin contact with someone who has it.

Therefore, this is often the skin of the genitals if acquired through sex with someone who has the virus.

What might I notice if I have it (Symptoms)?

Molluscum contagiosum (MC) produces groups of small, painless, raised spots on the skin that can be scattered around the genitals and the lower abdomen skin (if sexually acquired). The spots are typically smooth, with a regular edge and a tiny pit or dimple in the centre. They can range from 1 to 5 mm and a few may occur next to each other which may look even bigger.

If the spots are squeezed, they may release a pasty material and then the spot for a scab before shrinking and healing completely. The material is very infectious, so it is often not recommended to spread this material around.

How do I get tested?

There is no lab test for it, the test is visual examination by a doctor or nurse. They may use a cold air spray to highlight the spots to check for the dimple. There is no swab or blood test for the virus.

What is the Treatment?

Specific treatment is usually not recommended because the condition will go by itself and is often best not disturbed as to avoid spreading it further.

In cases where the spots are particularly unsightly and affect quality of life, or for people with weakened immune systems treatments can be offered including cold air spray freezing (cryotherapy) or sometimes creams.