Tag: kids studies

July 1, 2019

Molluscum (muh-luhs-kum) contagiosum (kən-tā-jē-ō-səm) is a skin disease caused by a virus that spreads easily from person to person.

About seven weeks after a person is exposed to the virus, around 10 to 20 small, dome-shaped growths begin to appear on the skin (occasionally, the bumps may take months to appear).  They are generally located on the face, armpits, neck, arms, or hands. The bumps are painless, but some can itch. The surface of the bumps initially is smooth and waxy or pearly.  They are flesh-colored or pink, although as the body’s immune system begins to fight the virus, the bumps will turn red. Once the bumps are present, you are contagious.

How it Spreads

The virus spreads by either direct skin-to-skin contact with someone who has the virus, or by contact with something infected with the virus.

  • Skin-to-Skin Contact – When your skin comes in contact with someone who has the virus, such as when hugging or during contact sports or sexual contact
  • Objects Infected with the Virus – Anything infected with the virus, such as towels, clothing or toys. Wrestlers and gymnasts can get it from infected gym mats

Once a person has the virus, they can spread it from one part of their body to another. This is done by scratching or picking the bumps, then touching another uninfected area.

Who Gets It?

Children are most impacted by molluscum contagiosum, although people of any age can be affected. Certain climates, a weakened immune system, and other skin conditions can all increase the risk of getting the virus, as well as the severity of it.

  • Climate – The virus thrives in a warm, humid environment
  • Weakened Immune System – Those with a weakened immune system, due to AIDS or cancer, for example, are at a higher risk to get the virus, and can develop a more severe form of it (many more bumps)
  • Current Skin Conditions – Having atopic dermatitis increases the risk and the severity of the virus (many more bumps)


The highly contagious nature of molluscum contagiosum, paired with how it can mimic other skin conditions, makes it important to get a diagnosis from a Board-certified dermatologist.  After a person is diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, the bumps will usually go away on their own without treatment within 12 to18 months, although they can last longer.

Treatment, however, prevents the virus from spreading to other parts of the body.  It also prevents spread to other people, which is especially important for people with compromised immune systems.

Stopping the Spread

If you have been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, you are the key in preventing its spread to yourself or others. Remember, if the bumps are present, you are contagious.

Here are some ways you can directly prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Not sharing items that have been in contact with your skin
  • Avoiding sex and other skin-to-skin contact when bumps are present
  • Refraining from scratching or picking bumps
  • Getting diagnosed and completing any prescribed treatment

At ActivMed Practices & Research, we are committed to not only working with patients to find current treatments that will deliver the most impactful results, but also to working to develop new treatment options through clinical studies.

If you or your child has been diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum, ActivMed Practices & Research currently has an enrolling study for those seeking new treatment options. Qualified volunteers who participate in the study will receive study-related care at no cost.  There is also compensation for travel. To learn more and see how you or someone you love may qualify for a research study on molluscum contagiosum, please click HERE.



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