Publication Date



Journal of Clinical and Aesthetics Dermatology


Despite its high global prevalence, molluscum contagiosum (MC) is not well understood outside of dermatology. Due to the potential self-limiting nature of MC, a common clinical approach in management is to wait for the papules to resolve spontaneously over several weeks to months, without medical intervention. However, this "watch and wait" approach increases risk of spreading the virus to others, extending the duration of the infection, and emergence of several psychosocial issues (e.g., anxiety, embarrassment, isolation). Molluscum contagiosum can be particularly challenging to treat in immunocompromised patients (e.g., human immunodeficiency virus [HIV], organ transplant recipients). This article reviews diagnostic characteristics and treatment options for MC, as well as associated risk factors and comorbidities. Treatment of immunocompromised individuals, in whom the risks of diffuse MC with persistence and spread are relatively high, is emphasized. The authors highlight the importance of actively treating the MC papules, as opposed to letting the virus "run its course" with no active intervention, with the goals of reducing the risk of spreading infection to others, shortening the duration of infection, and decreasing adverse psychosocial sequelae commonly associated with MC.



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