Diagnosis of Molluscum Contagiosum

The lesions are distinctive and clinical diagnosis is typical. The diagnosis can be confirmed with a skin scraping and microscopic evaluation.

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

In children, the infection is usually self-limiting and often resolves in about a year. In patients with HIV/AIDS, who are particularly susceptible to molluscum, the eruption can be resistant to treatment.

Treatment modalities range from painless medicated drops applied in the physician's office, to liquid nitrogen (a very cold spray that freezes the papules), to scraping off the top of the lesions. Some people respond to applying a prescription medication, tretinoin (Retin A, Avita), daily to each papule with a toothpick. A prescription immune-stimulating cream, imiquimod (Aldara), has been shown to be effective as well.

Molluscum Contagiosum Prevention

The only preventive measure is avoiding contact with infected skin and contaminated objects.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 31 Aug 2000

Last Modified: 25 Sep 2015