SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences

Information for Patients

View all Images (10)

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

Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) - Anogenital in

See also in: Overview
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.

Infection is infrequent in newborns and infants. The rarity of the condition in those aged younger than one year is thought to reflect transmitted immunity through maternal antibodies.

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

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

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.
Other causes of infection should be considered in immunocompromised children.

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Updated:03/06/2019
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Patient Information for Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) - Anogenital in
Print E-Mail Images (10)
Contributors: Medical staff writer
Premium Feature
VisualDx Patient Handouts
Available in the Elite package
  • Improve treatment compliance
  • Reduce after-hours questions
  • Increase patient engagement and satisfaction
  • Written in clear, easy-to-understand language. No confusing jargon.
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Print out or email directly to your patient
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Molluscum contagiosum (pediatric) - Anogenital in
See also in: Overview
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.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.