Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease of the skin that causes small pink- or skin-colored bumps on the skin of a child. It is not harmful and usually does not have any other symptoms. The virus lives inside the bumps and is mildly contagious. The bumps usually clear up without treatment over 6 to 9 months.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus called the poxvirus. It is most common in children and adolescents, although it can also affect adults.
The bumps are small and are usually pink- or skin-colored. Over time, the bumps may develop a small, sunken center. Children usually develop between two and 20 lesions, often in clusters. They are not harmful, but may cause some cosmetic concern for the child if they appear on the face or other visible areas.
Molluscum contagiosum is usually diagnosed based on a medical history and physical examination of the child. The lesions are unique and usually are diagnosed on physical examination.
Specific treatment for molluscum contagiosum will be determined by the physician based on:
In most cases, the lesions will heal without treatment over six to nine months. Additional treatment options may include:
The Division of Dermatology at Children's National Health System continues to expand services as more families seek our expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the skin, hair, and nails.
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Children’s National Health System recently named Scott A. Norton, MD, MPH, MSc, as the Chief of Dermatology within the Diana L. and Stephen A. Goldberg Center for Community and Pediatric Health. Dr. Norton had served as interim chief, and now assumes his role as Division Chief.
Northern Virginia Magazine has named more than 45 Children’s National Health System physicians to their list of 2015 “Top Doctors.” The leading pediatric physicians included in this elite list represent many specialties within Children’s National including Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery, Endocrinology, Hematology/Oncology, Neonatology, Otolaryngology, Urology, and Surgery.
The chief of dermatology at Children’s National Health System and two medical students working with him identified improper sales of antibiotics without prescriptions in neighborhood grocery stores in the Washington, DC, area.
Scott A. Norton, MD, MPH, MSc, is the Chief of Dermatology at Children’s National Health System and is on the faculty at George Washington University, Georgetown University, and Howard University.