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.
Invest in future cures for some of life's most devastating diseases
Keep in touch with Children's National by signing up for our newsletters.
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.
Located within Children's National Health System, the Regional Outpatient Centers' administrative offices support outreach to the community and facilitates hospital department participation in the program. The Regional Outpatient Centers offer Children's specialists in a neighborhood setting around the region.
Children’s National Health System is one of only 16 sites in the United States with a clinic devoted to the treatment of tuberous sclerosis. We treat our children who are diagnosed with TSC, and continue to provide consultation with primary care physicians and some outpatient services for our patients into adulthood.