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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral skin infection.

While people of any age can get it, it mainly affects tamariki (children) under 10 years old.

Molluscum contagiosum is harmless but can be passed on to other people. It's spread through touching an infected person's skin or sharing items such as towels, flannels and toys.


Symptoms of molluscum contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum causes groups of small (2 to 6 mm), hard, skin-coloured, raised spots (like tiny domes) on the skin. They can look shiny and waxy with a small central pore. They're normally painless but can be itchy or sore if they become inflamed.

The spots can be on any part of the body but they're most commonly found in the armpit, behind the knee or in the groin.

Treating molluscum contagiosum

Generally, the spots go away by themselves, but this can take from six to 24 months. Sometimes they're removed by freezing or applying wart treatments.

Preventing the spread of molluscum contagiosum

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed November 2021.


Page reference: 110748

Review key: HIMOC-110748