There is widespread of an infection that affects mostly children but can be seen virtually at any age. This viral infection is called Molluscum Contagiosum, and it usually affects the skin. The outcome of this infection is a mild, benign skin disease with symptoms of lesions that may develop on any part of the body. These raised papules are usually pink, white, or flesh colored with depression or dimple in the center. They are small and rigid but do not cause any harm. They can only lead to itching, soreness and irritation.
The common parts of the body where this viral infection appears is the face, arms, neck, abdomen, legs, and within the genital areas. Molluscum can appear in groups or alone. It is almost impossible to see them on the harder surfaces of the skin e.g. palms and soles, and It usually takes some months (within six to twelve month) to get this infection resolved without any special treatment administered.
The carrier of this infection is a virus called poxvirus- Molluscum contagiosum virus. There are several ways through which poxvirus can spread, below are some:
- Direct Body Contact – skin contact with one that is infected
- Sexual Intercourse – sexual contact with an infected person
- Coming in contact with contaminated objects such as flannels, clothes, toys and books.
There is every tendency that with time, the spots will spread around the body if you get infected. The exact contagious period is not really known, but as long as there is still a trace of the spot on the body, it can be contagious excepting the sufferer is completely healed.
Signs and Symptoms :
The predominant sign of molluscum contagiosum is the growth of some small reddish spots on different area of the skin. In most cases, the size of the spots ranges from two to five millimeter, but can be bigger than this at times. To avoid the risk of spreading the infection to other areas on the skin, it is paramount that the spots are not squeezed or left undisturbed. In some cases, like when the virus is spread through sexual activities, there may be development of these spots around/on the genitals. The spots are between twenty and thirty, but not compulsorily so.
No blood test or any special test needs to be carried out on this infection, although skin biopsy may be carried out just for formalities. All that is needed by your doctor is just a physical or visual examination of the lesions and proper assessment of the signs and symptoms for accurate diagnosis.
It is not a difficult task to recognize infectious spots that is caused by poxvirus (Molluscum contagiosum virus). Without any tests, your general practitioner should be capable of diagnosing the condition.
How To Confirm A Diagnosis :
Your general practitioner may want to carry out a test called skin biopsy if he thinks something else is responsible for the cause of the infection. Biopsy involves taking sample from a spot and testing for the MC virus. You may be referred to genitourinary medicine clinic (GUM) by your GP to test for any STIs if there are spots on/around your genitals.
From studies, most cases related to molluscum will naturally clear up within one and half years (most likely before the elapse of nine months). There is every tendency of transmitting this infection so long there are skin growth present. Once the growth are totally gone, every chance of spreading the virus ends. Unlike other viruses such as herpes which can be dormant for a long period of time before resurfacing, Molluscum contagiosum totally clears off and do not resurface.
The most effective way to prevent molluscum virus is by adhering to a proper hygiene habits. Be reminded that this virus thrives on the skin. Once you can get rid of the lesions, the virus will go also and thus, it cannot spread. Below are some of the practices to follow to avoid molluscum virus or to prevent its spread if you have it.
- Your hands should be washed properly to remove any trace of germs
- Do not squeeze or scratch the spots
- Keep the lesions covered
- During social gatherings, try to be as careful as possible
Is Molluscum Contagiosum Contagious?
Yes it is. It can be can be contacted through several ways, some of which are:
- Direct contact with the sufferer
- Sexual contact
- Coming in contact with contaminated objects
Types of Molluscum Contagiosum :
There are four major types of MC: MCV-1, MCV-2, MCV-3 and MCV-4. The most common is MCV-1, while MCV-2 is predominant in grown-ups and is sexually transmitted.
The complications associated with molluscum contagiosum are; inflammation, irritation, and other secondary infections. Growth on the eye may be related to papillary or follicular conjunctivitis. Bacterial super-infection may arise but is sometimes of clinical importance. Cellulitis is a kind of abnormal complication of MC in patients that are infected with HIV.
Home Remedy :
There are different types of home treatments available for treating this infection. Most people have using remedies like elderberry extract, alcohol, tree tea oil, and cider apple vinegar. Some can be gotten from reputable pharmacies e.g. Zymaderm. Also, occlusion duct tape treatment is a suggestion from clinicians. However, it is advisable for patients to discuss with their doctors before trying embarking on these remedies.
Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment :
Often times, there are no regularly recommended treatment carried out on MC because it clears up without any treatment after about six to eighteen months. Most of the available treatments for this infection can be upsetting and painful to children, and in some cases, permanent scars may occur. Treatment is often times recommended for older children and adults who have unsightly spots and their way of living is being affected by the spots. Also, treatment is recommended for individuals with fragile immune system because it may take a longer period of time to clear off any trace of spots.
Molluscum Contagiosum Can Be Treated With The Following :
- Topical treatment- use of cream, ointments and lotion
- Potassium hydroxide
- Benzoyl peroxide
Other forms of treatment includes; cryotherapy, diathermy and curettage.