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What is molluscum contagiosum Molluscum contagiosum is a common non-cancerous skin growth caused by a viral infection in the top layers of the skin They are similar to warts but are caused by a different virus The name molluscum contagiosum implies that the virus and the growths are easily spread by skin contact The virus that causes molluscum contagiosum belongs to a family of viruses called poxviruses This virus can enter through small breaks in the skin or hair follicles and can lead to the development of the molluscum lesions It does not effect any internal organs What do molluscum look like Molluscum are usually small flesh-colored or pink dome-shaped growths They may appear shiny and have a small indentation in the center Molluscum are often found in clusters on the skin of the chest abdomen arms groin or buttock They can also involve the face and eyelids Because they can be spread by skin-to-skin contact molluscum are usually found in areas of skin that touch each other such as the folds in the arm or in the groin Often the molluscum may become red or inflamed This tends to occur just before the growth is ready to go away on its own Sometimes the dermatologist might scrape some cells from the lesion and look at these under the microscope to confirm the diagnosis of molluscum In people with diseases of the immune system the molluscum may be very large in size and may involve the face How do you get molluscum The molluscum virus is transmitted from the skin of one person who has these growths to the skin of another person Molluscum occur most often in cases where skin-to-skin contact is frequent They often occur in young children especially among siblings Molluscum can also be sexually transmitted if growths are present in the genital area It is also possible but less likely to acquire the molluscum virus
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