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Molluscum contagiosum: an update and review of new perspectives in etiology, diagnosis, and treatment

Authors Meza-Romero R, Navarrete-Dechent C, Downey C

Received 22 March 2019

Accepted for publication 7 May 2019

Published 30 May 2019 Volume 2019:12 Pages 373—381

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CCID.S187224

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Cristina Weinberg

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Jeffrey Weinberg


Rodrigo Meza-Romero,1 Cristián Navarrete-Dechent,1,2 Camila Downey1

1Department of Dermatology, Facultad de Medicina, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; 2Dermatology Service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a self-limited infectious dermatosis, frequent in pediatric population, sexually active adults, and immunocompromised individuals. It is caused by molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) which is a virus of the Poxviridae family. MCV is transmitted mainly by direct contact with infected skin, which can be sexual, non-sexual, or autoinoculation. Clinically, MC presents as firm rounded papules, pink or skin-colored, with a shiny and umbilicated surface. The duration of the lesions is variable, but in most cases, they are self-limited in a period of 6–9 months. The skin lesions may vary in size, shape, and location, which is more frequent in immunosuppressed patients, and could present complications such as eczema and bacterial superinfection. The diagnosis is based on clinical findings. A useful clinical tool is dermoscopy. If the diagnostic doubt persists, confocal microscopy or skin biopsy could be performed. The need for active treatment for MC is controversial; however, there is a consensus that it should be indicated in cases of extensive disease, associated with complications or aesthetic complaints. There are several treatment modalities which include mechanical, chemical, immunomodulatory, and antivirals. The objective of this article is to review the current evidence in etiology, clinical manifestations, diagnosis, and management alternatives of MC.

Keywords: molluscum contagiosum, dermoscopy, confocal microscopy, eczema molluscorum, treatment, molluscum contagiosum virus

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