Learn About the Causes of Molluscum Contagiosum

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  • Molluscum contagiosum can also be passed from one person to another when you touch fomites, or inanimate objects that may have been contaminated by the virus
  • Teenagers and adults may be infected with molluscum contagiosum through sexual contact as well, especially when they handle the lesion/s of an infected person. In fact, many, but not all, cases of molluscum contagiosum in adults occur because the virus was transferred during sexual intercourse

Molluscum contagiosum is triggered by a virus of the same name. People can be infected with this disease by touching or coming into contact with the lesion/s of an infected person.1 For instance, children can get the virus while playing with other infected children.

People who play contact sports that involve touching bare skin, such as wrestling or football, may acquire the virus when they touch other people’s lesions.2 However, be aware that the molluscum contagiosum virus can also be passed on from one person to another via these other modes of transmission.

You Can Be Infected Through Autoinoculation

People can transmit the molluscum contagiosum virus to other parts of their body once they scratch or handle a lesion and touch other body parts, in what’s known as autoinoculation. The virus can also be transferred by shaving a bump (intentional or not) or undergoing electrolysis, a method that involves removal of individual hairs from the face or body,3 and touching another part of your body afterward.4,5

Be Careful When Touching Other People’s Items

Molluscum contagiosum can also be passed from one person to another when you touch fomites, or inanimate objects that may have been contaminated by the virus. These items include towels, clothes, toys, bathing sponges and sports equipment like baseball gloves, wrestling mats and football helmets.6,7

It is also suggested that the virus can spread when people share swimming pools, baths, saunas or other wet and warm environments with infected people, although this hasn’t been proven yet. Researchers who have investigated this topic think that it’s more likely that the virus is transferred by sharing towels and other items around a pool or sauna, rather than the infection spreading through water.8

Molluscum Contagiosum Can Be Transferred Via Sexual Contact

Teenagers and adults may be infected with molluscum contagiosum through sexual contact as well, especially when they handle the lesion/s of an infected person.9 In fact, many, but not all, cases of molluscum contagiosum in adults occur because the virus was transferred during sexual intercourse.10

Other Must-Know Information Regarding Molluscum Contagiosum

Take note that the molluscum contagiosum virus can’t be spread through coughing or sneezing, mainly because it only remains in the top layer of the skin called the epidermis, and doesn’t circulate throughout the body. As such, once the lesions heal, the virus goes away too and you can’t spread it to others.

The molluscum contagiosum virus isn’t like the herpes virus, which may remain dormant in the body for long periods of time, and then reappear. However, it’s possible that a person can be infected with the disease again, even if he or she has already been diagnosed once. It’s highly recommended to practice effective and reliable prevention techniques to avoid a molluscum contagiosum reinfection.11

MORE ABOUT MOLLUSCUM CONTAGIOSUM

Molluscum Contagiosum: Introduction

What Is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum Symptoms

Molluscum Contagiosum Causes

Molluscum Contagiosum Treatment

Molluscum Contagiosum Prevention

Molluscum Contagiosum Diet

Molluscum Contagiosum FAQ


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