Contagion Of Mollusks There is a false belief that links contagious molluscs with fungi and their appearance in swimming pools or humid environments. Although both parties are usually linked, the transmission is different from what is believed. This is explained by Ana Martín-Santiago, dermatologist at the Piel Sana Foundation of the Spanish Association of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV).
It notes that molluscum contagiosum (MC) has little to do with fungi. “It is an infection caused by a virus of the pox-virus family, Molluscum contagiosum, hence its name.” A pathology that is transmitted by direct skin-to-skin contact or through objects such as towels or shared clothing. “Therefore, in environments such as swimming pools or gyms, cases tend to increase,” says the specialist.
Stephanie Patrizia Barbeito Pagliuca, member of the Dermatology Group of the Spanish Society of General and Family Physicians (SEMG) adds: “The disease has a universal distribution, with a highly variable incidence, depending on geographic areas. It is estimated that 2-5% of the population will suffer worldwide. ”
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One of the groups with the highest exposure is children with atopic dermatitis because scratching the molluscum contagiosum spreads to the rest of the body. However, although children and adolescents are more exposed to the virus, they are not the only ones who contract it. “Its appearance is also associated with immunosuppressed patients and adults with sexual activity,” says Begoña Fornes Pujalte, vice president of the National Association of Dermatological Nursing and Investigation of the Impairment of Skin Integrity (Anedidic) and nurse of the Hospital Ulcer Unit. General of Valencia.
Jorge Zamora Ortiz, treasurer of Anedidic and nurse at the Valencia Dermatology Unit, clarifies that when molluscs appear on the genitals, it is usually in the pubis. He also warns that “the waxing of these areas is a traumatic factor for autoinoculation. It must be treated with the dermatologist if it is external. And in the case of being internal molluscs, which are not common, it will be dealt with directly by the gynecologist or urologist ”.
The appearance of the MC is characteristic and easy to recognize: they are small lumps of less than 2 to 5 millimeters, hemispherically shaped with a central depression and with a bright color, sometimes pink. “They are round, firm and painless bumps whose size varies and can be like the head of a pin or the eraser of a pencil,” explains Stephanie Patrizia.
They can appear anywhere on the body, according to Begoña Fornes. “In the case of adults, the most common is to find them in the groin, armpits, neck, face, hands, thighs, lower abdomen and genitals, as they are frequently a sexually transmitted infection. Only in exceptional cases, lumps can appear around the eyes or mouth, “he adds.
They do not usually show other symptoms, although sometimes they get red or a dermatitis appears around them, but without itching. “We must pay special attention to scratching because the area of the papule contains the virus inside as a liquid. Normally with the rubbing it breaks and goes outside. And it is at this point that self-infection is very likely and can contaminate other areas of the body, even causing conjunctivitis ”, warns Jorge Zamora.