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Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) in Child
See also in: Anogenital
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) in Child

See also in: Anogenital
Contributors: Sabrina Nurmohamed MD, Craig N. Burkhart MD, Dean Morrell MD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


This summary discusses pediatric patients. Molluscum contagiosum in adults is addressed separately.

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral skin infection of childhood caused by a DNA poxvirus. It is usually transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact, through fomites, or from autoinoculation. There is an increased incidence in children with underlying atopic dermatitis, swimmers, children who bathe together, those who share towels, and immunosuppressed people.

The exact incubation period is unknown but is estimated to be between 2 and 6 weeks. Though self-limited, the infection is often chronic and can range from a few months to 4 years before disappearing.

Molluscum can be found anywhere on the body. Genital involvement does not absolutely imply sexual transmission, as molluscum may be autoinoculated from a nongenital site to the genital area. A thorough history will direct suspicion for sexual abuse in these cases.


B08.1 – Molluscum contagiosum

40070004 – Molluscum contagiosum

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Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Flat wart
  • Varicella (varicella zoster infection)
  • Milia – pinpoint white papules
  • Common acquired nevus
  • Sebaceous hyperplasia in newborn
  • Lobular capillary hemangioma (pyogenic granuloma)
  • Lichen planus – flat-topped purple polygonal papules
  • Folliculitis manifests as follicularly centered red pustules.
Molluscum-like papules may be seen in:
  • Cryptococcosis
  • Histoplasmosis
  • Coccidioidomycosis
  • Talaromyces marneffei infection
Other causes of infection should be considered in immunocompromised children.

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Last Updated:03/06/2019
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Patient Information for Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) in Child
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Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) in Child
See also in: Anogenital
A medical illustration showing key findings of Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) : Scattered many, Pruritus, Umbilicated papules
Clinical image of Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) - imageId=76426. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'A close-up of a pink umbilicated papule.'
A close-up of a pink umbilicated papule.
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