Molluscum Contagiosum: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 1/30/2020

Molluscum contagiosum is a common viral infection of the skin that has a characteristic appearance. It causes bumps on the skin that typically go away on their own after 6-12 months, but sometimes the skin bumps may persist for a few years.

Signs and symptoms of molluscum contagiosum include small, raised, white, pink, or flesh-colored bumps on the skin located anywhere on the body. They may be as small as a pinpoint or as large as a pencil eraser. There may be a dimple in the center of the bumps, and they may take on a pearly appearance. Sometimes the bumps become itchy, swollen, or reddened.

Cause of a molluscum contagiosum

A poxvirus known as the molluscum contagiosum virus causes molluscum contagiosum.

Other molluscum contagiosum symptoms and signs

  • Itchy Bumps on the Skin
  • Pearly Appearance to the Small Bumps
  • Reddened Bumps
  • Small, Raised, White, Pink, or Flesh-Colored Bumps on the Skin
  • Swollen Bumps


Ringworm is caused by a fungus. See Answer

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Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.