Molluscum contagiosum (MC), also called Molluscum epitheliae, Epithelioma molluscum, and sometimes called water warts (“waterwratjes” in Dutch) is a member of the poxvirus family and is responsible for a common contagious viral disease that has a very high incidence in children, sexually active adults and in immunodeficient individuals.
How it presents
It is a viral infection of the skin or occasionally of the mucous membranes that causes raised, pearl-like nodules or papules/pimples on the skin or mucous membranes. Pimples are spherical, 3-10 mm in size, skin colored or white, sometimes somewhat shiny. The surface is flattened. It takes 6-12 weeks until they reach their maximum size.
They occur mainly in the trunk, in the neck and around the armpits. They can also occur in the face, for example on the eyelids. Around the water warts there may also be eczema, meaning that this can occur in children that have atopic eczema.
In adults, water warts mostly appear in the genitals and around the anus. A condom does not prevent contamination during a sexual encounter because the virus is generally not on the sexual organs but on the skin around it.
Molluscum contagiosum can be presented in childhood and spread by skin-to-skin contact. It also can be presented in adulthood, also spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual and intimate contact.