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JAMA Dermatology Patient Page
September 2016

Molluscum Contagiosum

JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(9):1072. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.2367

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection that causes small bumps on the skin.

Molluscum most often occurs in healthy children. The molluscum virus can be spread to other people by direct skin-to-skin contact with the bumps, and to other areas of the patients’ own skin (“auto-innoculation”) by scratching or rubbing. It can also be spread by contact with an object (eg, towel, gym mat, razor) that gets virus on it by rubbing the bumps. Molluscum that develops in teenagers and adults may be due to sexual activity. Molluscum virus only affects the surface of the body and never spreads internally.

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