Health A-Z

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What Is It?

Molluscum contagiosum is a skin disease caused by a virus that causes clusters of tiny, firm, flesh-colored or pearly bumps. The infection is mainly spread by direct skin-to-skin contact. The bumps or lesions appear at the site of contact anywhere on the body except the palms of the hands and soles of the feet.

Anyone can get molluscum contagiosum, but the vast majority of those who get it are children. Most people who get this condition are otherwise healthy. However, people with HIV or other immune-suppressing diseases can more easily become infected.

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From Health A-Z, Harvard Health Publications. Copyright 2007 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. Written permission is required to reproduce, in any manner, in whole or in part, the material contained herein. To make a reprint request, contact Harvard Health Publications. Used with permission of StayWell.

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