Molluscum contagiosum is a poxvirus unique to humans. The virus is spread by close contact, often through sexual contact. The virus causes a disease of the skin usually seen in children and young adults. It causes small, pink, papular pearl-like benign tumors of the skin or mucous membranes. These lesions are present on the epidermis and occur on most parts of the body except on soles and palms. Lesions are more commonly found on the trunk and anogenital areas. This is a self-limiting condi-tion and the condition generally resolves over a period of time.
Molluscum contagiosum in patients with HIV may cause chronic and extensive skin lesions. Sections of the nodular lesions show hyaline acidophilic inclusion bodies called molluscum bodies.
Their bodies are large and measure 20–30mm in size andare composed of large numbers of virion particles embedded in a protein matrix. These inclusion bodies can be seen in the cells of stratum corneum and the stratum granulosum (Fig. 55-3).
Humans are the only susceptible host. The virus cannot be grown in embryonated eggs, tissue cultures, or animals.