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Molluscum contagiosum and other poxviruses 

Molluscum contagiosum and other poxviruses
Chapter:
Molluscum contagiosum and other poxviruses
DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198729228.003.0103
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date: 19 November 2019

Poxviruses are the largest and most complex viruses infecting humans. Since the eradication of smallpox, the only remaining poxviruses of clinical significance are molluscum contagiosum, vaccinia (the virus used for smallpox vaccination), and several other rare zoonotic viruses. Molluscum contagiosum is a common disease of childhood and causes a chronic, but usually self-limiting, localized skin infection. It has been reported worldwide. The disease can occur in healthy adolescents and adults, often as a sexually transmitted disease. Severe or prolonged molluscum contagiosum can be associated with primary or secondary immunodeficiencies. The diagnosis is usually made by the typical appearance of the lesions, and specific investigations usually are not indicated. There is no strong evidence for the efficacy of any treatment for molluscum contagiosum. If attempted treatment is considered, cryotherapy, curettage, cantharidin, or podophyllotoxin are options. The epidemiology, transmission, clinical features and associated findings, investigations, and management of molluscum contagiosum and other poxviruses are discussed in this chapter.

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