What is Molluscum Contagious?
Molluscum contagiosum (infectious mollusk) is an infectious disease characterized by the appearance of small, dense, slightly shiny erythematous nodules in the lower abdomen, on the genitals, pubis, inner thighs.
Causes of Molluscum Contagious
The causative agent of molluscum contagiosum is a filtering virus of the group of pox viruses.
The virus infects only humans, is not tolerated by animals and is close to smallpox viruses. There are 4 types of molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV-1, MCV-2, MCV-3, MCV-4). Of these, MCV-1 is most common, and MCV-2 usually occurs in adults and is often sexually transmitted. It can also be transmitted through water (for example, a pool). Inside the formation there is a fluid through which it is transferred and multiplies.
Pathogenesis during Molluscum Contagios
Molluscum contagiosum is transmitted sexually as well as by households (when shared with a sick bathroom, bed, washcloth, etc.). Often, infection, especially of children, occurs in swimming pools. Known patient, who appeared typical molluscum molluscum nodules on tattooed areas of the body 7 months after tattooing.
The virus remains in the dust of dwellings, often there are epidemic outbreaks in children’s groups. The mollusk contributes to non-compliance with the rules of personal hygiene and home hygiene, as well as diseases that reduce the body’s defenses (cases of contagious molus are described in middle-aged and elderly people with allergic diseases or immunodeficiency states and receiving hormonal and cytostatic drugs for a long time).
The disease is widespread in all countries of the world, both in sporadic and epidemiological forms.
Symptoms of Molluscum Contagious
The incubation period of molluscum contagiosum lasts from 14–15 days to several months. The clinic disease is very characteristic.
Localization of molluscum contagiosum: external genital organs, thighs, buttocks, or lower abdomen.
Raised nodules appear on unchanged skin. They have a hemispherical shape. The color coincides with the normal color of the skin or slightly pinker, single or multiple. In the middle of the hemisphere there is an impression, something resembling a human navel. The size of these painless lesions, usually appearing 3-6 weeks after infection, varies from 1 mm to 1 cm in diameter; they have a pinkish-orange color with a mother-of-pearl tip. When pressing the knot out of it, like an eel, cheesy cork stands out. Most often, a contagious mollusk does not cause serious trouble and disappears by itself for about 6 months; therefore, treatment is not required in all cases.
Subjective feelings are absent, but sometimes a feeling of itch appears in the area of the nodules. Perhaps the accession of a secondary bacterial infection with an inflammatory reaction. Symptoms of the disease are observed from 2 weeks to 4 years.
Consequences of molluscum contagiosum
Molluscum contagiosum is a disease that does not cause serious consequences, however, when signs of molluscum contagiosum appear, it is necessary to consult a doctor.
Firstly, because a contagious mollusk can be easily confused by a layman with other symptomatic diseases, some of which are very serious (for example, syphilis). Consequently, for signs of molluscum contagiosum, the dermatovenerologist should conduct a differential diagnosis.
And secondly, the manifestation of the symptoms of a contagious mollusk indicates that the human immune system is weakened. And this, in turn, can be caused by the presence of other infections in the body. Therefore, when symptoms of a molluscum contagiosum appear, the patient should be examined for all sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
Diagnosis of Molluscum Contagios
The diagnosis is straightforward. It is based mainly on the clinical picture, in doubtful cases is confirmed by the results of histological examination (the detection of mollusks in the cytoplasm of epidermal cells). The differential diagnosis is carried out with warts, lichen planus, multiple form of keratoacanthoma, epithelioma.
Microscopic examination of the contents of the nodules reveal the cornified cells of the epidermis and a large number of peculiar ovoid (mollusk) bodies typical of this disease. According to histological studies, inclusions are formed in the basal layers of the epithelium. They gradually increase in size, push aside the nucleus to the side and fill the cell.
Treatment of Molluscum Contagious
If during the examination it is determined that the patient’s skin is really affected by this type of rash, and does not contain benign or malignant neoplasms, the treatment of a contagious mollusk is not necessary. About 6 months will be required initially for a healthy body to overcome the symptoms of the virus, and most often dermatovenerologists rely on an independent recovery without the use of drugs.
To speed up the process, depending on the stage of the disease, the severity of the symptoms, and the patient’s immunity, the doctors stop at one of several methods for treating the contagious mollusk.
There are four main methods of treatment of molluscum contagiosum. The specific method can only choose a doctor in a particular case:
- Mechanical extrusion of nodules (scraping with a sharp spoon) followed by treatment of the affected surface with a 5% alcohol solution of iodine;
- Diathermocoagulation or cauterization;
- Treatment with antiviral ointments and immunomodulators.
- In the presence of a very large number of nodules (generalized forms of molluscum contagiosum), tetracycline antibiotics (tetracycline, olethethrin, methacycline, doxycycline, chlortetracycline) should be administered.
Shellfish should not be treated at home for a number of reasons:
First, it can be confused with a benign or malignant skin tumor and self-treatment can dramatically aggravate the ailment.
Secondly, since some forms of mollusk occur together with AIDS, a special examination and treatment is required.
Removal is done by topical application of liquid nitrogen or dry ice.
The challenge with infection is that this virus contains DNA. Thus, modern medicine does not allow to get rid of him completely. This disease is chronic. However, to avoid relapses is quite realistic. Of course, this requires constant therapy and regular follow-up with a doctor. The main methods of dealing with the symptoms of the disease relate to the overall strengthening of the immune system of the body. It is with the weakening of immunity that relapses occur.
During the entire period of therapy, medical supervision is carried out by a specialist dermatovenerologist. Only after the disappearance of the symptoms of molluscum contagiosa, a person can return to sexual activity. Since there is also a common mode of transmission, the use of linen, bed, and the patient’s bathroom should be avoided. For the same reason, when a virus is detected in one family member, it is recommended to examine the others and, first of all, the person with whom the patient has an intimate relationship.
The prognosis is favorable.
Prevention of Molluscum Contagious
Prevention consists in observing the rules of personal hygiene of dwellings. To prevent the spread of infection, it is necessary to isolate a sick child from an organized team, conduct preventive examinations of children in preschool institutions and schools, such as daily change of underwear and weekly change of bed linen, using only personal things daily shower, especially after visiting the pool, sauna or sexual contact.
If there are children in the family who attend the children’s institution — kindergarten or nursery — then they should be regularly examined regularly, and in case of suspected contagious mollusk, immediately see a doctor. Of course, the first measure of prevention of all sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – discrimination in the choice of sexual partners – fully applies to the disease of molluscum contagiosum.
The prevention of contagious mollusk cases and the timely treatment of patients and their sexual partners can also be attributed to the prevention of molluscum contagiosum.
Separately, it must be said that if the family has a patient with a contagious mollusk, then while it is being treated, it must be in some isolation: use only its personal belongings and dishes, avoid sexual and close physical contact with the rest of the family Do not use the pool or sauna.
With the implementation of all these simple recommendations, the chances that the rest of the family members will not become infected with molluscum contagiosum are very high.