A contagious disease of the skin identified by small flesh-colored or pink dome-shaped growths, molluscum contagiosum can spread from body part to body part or person to person via direct contact. Caused by a poxvirus that only affects the skin, this disease most often affects children whose immune systems are immature and adults whose immune systems have been compromised. In some cases, molluscum contagiosum can be sexually transmitted, usually in young adults.
While molluscum contagiosum eventually goes away on its own without leaving scars, it is so highly contagious that early medical treatment is recommended to prevent the growths from spreading to other body parts or other people. It may also take up to 4 years to resolve it if left untreated.
Molluscum contagiosum can be treated with liquid nitrogen/cryotherapy (freezing), curettage (scraping), various topical medicines (applied in the office or at home), or surgical removal.
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