VIRAL SKIN INFECTIONS: MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM

Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a poxvirus. Like warts, this infection occurs by direct contact. Typically, the lesions will resolve spontaneously within 9 months.The asymptomatic lesions are discrete papules measuring a few millimeters in diameter and are pink to pearly-white, dome-shaped, and umbilicated in the center. The periphery of the lesions is often erythematous. These lesions can be sexually transmitted, causing lesions on the genitals or the suprapubic area. The presence of extensive facial lesions should prompt suspicion of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. The diagnosis is usually made on inspection. If necessary, diagnosis can be confirmed by microscopic examination of the core of an individual lesion. The core is removed and placed on a slide with potassium hydroxide and heated. Infected epithelial cells lose their flat, rectangular shape and become dark, round, and non-adherent to their neighboring epithelial cells. Treatment options include liquid nitrogen, isotretinoin blunt dissection, electrocautery, and imiquimod (Aldara).*118/348/5*

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