February 3rd, 2017
Molluscum Contagiosum is a fairly common viral infection that mainly involves skin. It is caused by MCV (or Molluscum contagiosum virus. Researchers classify this virus under pox family of viruses. Historically, it was believed that this virus only affect children but according to clinical studies, it is also a very common sexually transmitted disease that affect adult males and females with risky lifestyle.
In adults, the most common route of transmission is through sexual contact. Any form of skin to skin contact is enough to spread the virus to a healthy contact. Data also indicates that virus may also be transmitted without getting in touch with infected mucous membranes. Being in contact with infected skin lesions can also transmit the disease. Other common sources of transmission are:
The incubation period of Molluscum contagiosum virus ranges from a week to 6 months but the average estimated period is generally between 2-3 months.
One of the most prominent symptoms of active infection is skin lesion which may last from 2 weeks to 4 years. The skin lesions can be pink, red, greyish white or yellow in color. Most of the time, these lesions are seen on buttocks, thighs, groin, and lower abdomen. Sometimes these lesions may appear in anal and external genital area. In children, these lesions are observed on arms, legs, face, and trunk region.
Initially, lesions appear as small bumps but with the passage of time these may turn into larger wounds. Other symptoms include; tenderness or itching in the affected area.
MCV is diagnosed by specific appearance of lesions on physical examination. The sample is collected from the lesion and is placed on a slide for gram staining to distinguish the infected cells from normal cells. The sample collected from lesions can also be examined under electron microscope in order to make the diagnosis.
Most symptoms resolve on their own however, lesions need to be physically removed to prevent autoinoculation and reduce the risk of transmission to others. Lesion can be removed via surgical procedure and/or chemicals such as trichloracetic acid, silver nitrate, phenol, podophyllin, cantharidin or iodine.
An alternate method of removing the lesions is by cryotherapy.
Sometimes lesions reappear however, the exact cause is not clear. It may be due to aggravation of subclinical infection, reinfection, or rejuvenation of a suppressed infection.
HIV patients when infected with molluscum can have severe breakouts. It has been observed that Molluscum Contagiosum symptoms are more severe in HIV positive individuals.
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