What is it?

What is a molluscum? A viral skin infection member of the Pox virus family. It is also known as Water Warts. Child care centres and schools as well as public pools are common places for infection. For mature adolescents and adults sexual contact is also a source - molluscum contagiosum is an STD.Molluscum contagiosum is common worldwide with an estimated 125 million sufferers, close to 2% of the world's population. It is a skin based viral infection member of the Pox virus family. Also known as Water Warts or Dell Warts.

The molluscum  virus is transmitted by direct contact with an infected person or indirectly via toys, towels or clothing. 

Molluscum mostly infects young children, sexually active adults, and those with immune deficiency. The virus may also be more common in athletes of some sports, for example gymnastics, swimming, and wrestling.

Schools and pre-schools are common places for infection. For adults sexual contact is also a source - molluscum contagiosum is an STD.

The molluscum virus enters the body through a tiny break in the skin resulting in localised infection. For many people, contact with the virus will produce no symptoms at all because they are immune. In cases where immunity has not developed, molluscum bumps will begin to grow after an incubation period of two to seven weeks.

Molluscum starts life as very small white/pink bumps which then grows in size. In the first stage, pimple like bumps generally appear in clusters of several up to hundreds on the face, arms, torso, thighs, groin and genital area. Molluscum can infect any part of your body and are often associated with dermatitis and eczema. In the case of molluscum virus infection via sexual contact, the bumps and lesions concentrate in the genital, pubis, and abdomen area especially on the shaft of the penis, the scrotum, around the vagina and in the groin.

Some of the beginning stage molluscum warts will start to go red and look inflamed, and then develop a pus head. This is the most contagious stage of the viral infection and if scratched will spread to other areas of the body or other people. See the Growth Stages section for more details on how to identify molluscum or the section on molluscum contagiosum treatment for children.

Molluscum contagiosum pictures show how the virus lesions develop and our treatment before and after photos. Or review the Molluscum Contagiosum Diagnostic Tool produced by Cardiff University.

Without treatment the infection can last for months or even years. Don’t let molluscum take hold. A simple molluscum treatment is available.