Molluscum contagiosum is a skin infection that causes small pink or white dome-shaped bumps with a dimple in the center.
Molluscum contagiosum is caused by a virus (poxvirus) and spreads easily from person to person
You can get molluscum contagiosum by touching an infected person’s skin, touching something after an infected person touched it, or in water, such as swimming pools
Molluscum contagiosum is common in children
People with a weak immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more (such as people with HIV/AIDS) can have more severe infections
The bumps usually go away on their own in a year or two, but can last up to 3 years
The main symptom is:
The bumps may get very red and itchy—sometimes this happens when they are about to go away. But if you scratch them, you can get more of them by spreading the virus on the skin around the bumps.
You can get bumps anywhere on your skin except the palms of your hands and bottoms of your feet.
Doctors usually don’t treat molluscum contagiosum because it goes away on its own in a year or two. But it can be treated if the bumps bother you. If you're an adult with bumps near your genitals, you should have them treated so you don’t spread them to sex partners.
Cover bumps on children (for example with a bandage) so the bumps won't spread to others. Your child can still attend school or child care.
To keep molluscum contagiosum from spreading to other people: