. What is molluscum contagiosum?
Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease that occurs with specific elements of a rash. Infection occurs through close contact with the patient’s skin or objects infected with the virus, so children and young, sexually active people suffer the most. Visiting public pools is also important for the spread of infection.
What is the etiology of the disease?
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus. There are two types of viral agents: type 1 is more common in children and type 2 is more common in adults.
The disease is rare in children under 1 year of age due to a long incubation period and innate immunity (maternal antibodies circulate in the child’s bloodstream for 6-7 months). The peak incidence is observed in the range of 2 to 5 years.
What is the clinical picture of the disease?
The incubation period for molluscum contagiosum ranges from 14 days to 6 months. The first sign of the disease is the appearance of a characteristic rash – spherical papules (rising above the level of the skin formations) of pearl color with a central depression. At first, their sizes are small – fractions of a millimeter, but after a few months, they grow to 5-10 mm. Localization of skin lesions depends on the climate and clothes of patients.
Molluscum contagiosum is a sexually transmitted disease that mainly affects the urogenital area. Lesions can also be observed on the hands and body, parts of the body that have come into contact with objects from the environment. In children, papules are most often located on the limbs. Atypical and rare localization of the mollusk is the scalp, lips, tongue and buccal mucosa.
Mollusks are very contagious and, if the integrity of the papules is broken, they easily spread to healthy skin. This is the reason that the skin lesion increases significantly in a short period of time.
The rash lasts for a different amount of time depending on the state of the immune system. Most often it disappears within 2 months but can persist for years. The sudden appearance of multiple moles is often one of the first symptoms of HIV patients.
The healing of skin lesions is accompanied by the appearance of depressions on the skin ( depressions) at the locations of the elements of the rash.
How is the diagnosis made?
The diagnosis is made on the basis of the appearance of a skin formation characteristic of the disease – papules with a central depression. At very small sizes, the rash is carefully examined with a magnifying glass or an electron microscope.
Histological examination of the mollusks and their contents also confirms the diagnosis.
What is the treatment?
Most often, molluscs pass spontaneously after a different period of time. If this does not happen and the number of mollusks increases, several methods of treatment are used:
• Surgical removal by scraping – the unpleasant thing is that scars remain from the intervention;
• Cryotherapy – removal by “freezing” with liquid nitrogen. It is used in older children and adults. It is necessary to repeat the manipulation after 3-4 weeks. She also has scars.
• Treatment with a silver preparation – after treatment, the affected area becomes hyperpigmented;
• Creams containing drugs against the formation and spread of the virus.
During the period of infection, abstinence from sexual intercourse is recommended.