Causes of Molluscum Contagiosum

Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral infection. A virus from the pox family is known to be the primary cause of this infection. While the other pox viruses are more serious, this particular pox virus is relatively harmless and does not cause any major discomfort. There are many factors that can result in molluscum contagiosum, and you can get infected in a number of ways. Here are some of the most common ways by which a person can get infected:
  • Skin Lesions: Children are most susceptible to this kind of infection. This occurs when the child comes in direct contact with an open skin lesion. Though this kind of infection may cause the formation of bumps anywhere on the body, they are usually seen on the armpits, face, arms, neck and hands. The bumps can appear anywhere except for on the soles and the palms.
  • Contact with Contaminated Objects: This is another common method of contagion. Contaminated objects like clothes, toys, towels and other personal effects can also cause spread of the infection.
  • Sexual Contact: Though the infection is not necessary a sexually transmitted disease, it can be passed from one person to another through sexual contact as well. In such a transmission, lesions may develop on the genitalia and it is often confused as an early symptom of herpes. However, these lesions are not painful and do not develop into sores unlike those of herpes.
While anyone is at a risk of developing the infection on coming in contact with an already infected person, those with low immunity are at a higher risk. A weakened or compromised immune system may experience a rapidly worsening instance of molluscum contagiosum. In such cases, a single patient may develop more than 100 bumps in a small area of the skin.

  1. Stephen K Tyring, Molluscum contagiosum: the importance of early diagnosis and treatment, American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Volume 189, Issue 3, Supplement, September 2003, Pages S12-S16, ISSN 0002-9378, 10.1067/S0002-9378(03)00793-2.