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A to Z: Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum contagiosum (mol-US-kum kon-tay-jee-OH-sum) is a common viral skin infection that causes a mild rash.

More to Know

The molluscum contagiosum rash doesn't usually cause lasting problems, but is contagious. It can spread to other parts of the body or to other people through skin-to-skin contact (including sexual contact) or contact with an infected person's bath towels or clothes.

The rash looks like one or more small growths or wart-like bumps (called mollusca) that are pink, white, or skin-colored. The bumps are typically soft and smooth and may have an indented center. Although usually painless, the bumps may become itchy, sore, red, and/or swollen. If scratched or picked, they can become infected with bacteria.

Keep in Mind

A doctor often can recognize molluscum contagiosum just by looking at the rash. In many cases, doctors recommend letting the rash go away on its own without treatment. This usually takes 6-12 months, but sometimes can be longer.

All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.

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