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Molluscum Contagium?
Dec 14, 1996

Rick, I suspect I have molluscum contagium. My questions are: 1) Are there any long term problems associated with it when left untreated? 2) Can this viral infection be fully cured? 3) When the "bumps" are removed and they don't recur, does that mean that one is no longer infectious? 4) What would you recommend if 1 partner has molluscum and both partners want to have a baby? - Thanks!

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by a virus. It is spread either sexually, or by direct contact with the growths that this virus causes. Transmission is believed to occur only as long as the growths persist. There are usually multiple growths on the body, not just one. These growths are found on the skin. They are about 2-5mm in size, smooth and firm, and may be flesh colored, white, translucent, or yellow. They usually appear most often on the lower abdominal wall, the genital area, or the inner thighs. They can also sometimes be found on the face. Occasionally, they may itch. Only a physician can diagnose this problem. Molluscum is diagnosed by looking at a portion of the growths under a microscope. This disease is more common in persons with AIDS. In persons with AIDS, there may be numerous growths, and they may spread all throughout the body.

Without any treatment, these growths persist for 6 months to 2 years, then go away by themselves. There are usually multiple growths at one time. Treatment usually consists of surgically removing the growths. Sometimes, they may be frozen off with liquid nitrogen. It's hard to say whether removing them will be a "cure" but at the very least, they will prevent spread to sexual or other close contacts. However, recurrences can occur, especially in persons with damaged immune systems (including AIDS).

If one partner has Molluscum, this won't cause any problems if the woman is pregnant. However, as long as one partner is symptomatic, they can spread the infection to the other partner (by physical contact with the growths). If one of the partners is symptomatic, it's best for that person to have the growths removed to prevent the other partner from getting infected.

So all in all, having unsightly growths is the major problem with this infection. It doesn't usually lead to any unusual or ongoing complications. But since the growths can be unsightly, removing them will solve this problem, and reduce spread to sexual, or other close partners.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).



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