Molluscum Contagiosum (MCV)

Menstuff® has compiled the following information on Molluscum Contagiosum (MCV).

What is molluscum contagiosum?

A skin disease caused by the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) usually causing one or more small lesions/bumps. MCV is generally a benign infection and symptoms may self-resolve. MCV was once a disease primarily of children, but it has evolved to become a sexually transmitted disease in adults. It is believed to be a member of the pox virus family.

How is it transmitted?

What is the incubation period?

The incubation period averages 2 to 3 months and may range from 1 week to 6 months.

How long are you infectious?

This is not known for certain, but researchers assume that if the virus is present it may be transmitted.



Diagnosis is usually made by the characteristic appearance of the lesion. MCV may be diagnosed by collecting a specimen from the lesion, placing it onto a slide and staining with a Gram stain which shows changes in infected cells. Diagnosis may be made by collecting a specimen from the lesion and viewing it under an electron microscope.


What does it mean for my health?

In people with HIV infection, molluscum contagiosum is often a progressive disease.

Reduce your risk

If you do get molluscum contagiosum, avoid touching the lesion and then touching another part of the body without washing your hands to prevent chance of autoinoculation.

Share your story

Do you have an experience related to molluscum contagiosum that you are willing to share with others? Triumphs? Challenges? Please send your story to Please note: We cannot answer questions about molluscum contagiosum. For any questions, please contact your health care provider or call the National STD Hotline at .800.227.8922.


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