Molluscum contagiosum, or water wart, is a viral, contagious disease, characterized by whitish papules that are more common in children and adolescents. It can occur in adults, and in that case it represents a sexually transmitted disease.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus that belongs to Poxviridae family of DNA viruses. The virus can be transmitted by direct contact or through pool water. Warts appear between 2 weeks and 6 months after a contact with the virus, and can affect any part of the body. In adults, they are most often localized in the pubic area and genitals, and are sexually transmitted.
People with atopic dermatitis and decreased immunity have a tendency to develop these warts.
Clinical picture – Molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum or water warts are characterized by smooth papules measuring from 2 to 5 mm, skin coloured, whitish or pink. They may have a dimple (indent) in centre. They can be very numerous and are most often found on the face, torso, extremities in children, and on the genitals or thighs in adults.
The diagnosis is made based on the clinical picture, and less often a biopsy of the lesion is needed to make a diagnosis.
Course and prognosis of the disease
This is a viral infection that is transmitted through contact, with a tendency to spread. Spontaneous resolution of lesions is also possible. If the lesions spread rapidly, a treatment is necessary.
Molluscum wart treatment
For their removal, we can use radiofrequency, sharp curette or liquid nitrogen. Keratolytic agents, retinoids or imiquimod can be used as topical creams, applied with caution because they can irritate the skin.