Epidemiology and impact of childhood molluscum contagiosum: a case series and critical review of the literature

Pediatr Dermatol. Jul-Aug 2005;22(4):287-94. doi: 10.1111/j.1525-1470.2005.22401.x.


Parents of 30 children with clinically diagnosed molluscum contagiosum were surveyed to assess their perception of the condition, its treatment, its impact on their everyday lives, and on the children themselves. Among parents, 82% reported that molluscum contagiosum concerned them moderately or greatly. Concerns focused on physical issues associated with the infection, such as scarring, itching, chance of spread to peers, pain, and the effects of treatments. Quality of life was not affected. Molluscum contagiosum was most common among school-age children. Eighteen of 29 respondents swam in public pools, a common activity in children of this age. All epidemiologic studies of molluscum contagiosum in otherwise healthy individuals, published since 1966, have been critically reviewed herein. The review confirms an association between swimming pool use and molluscum contagiosum. Age, living in close proximity, skin-to-skin contact, sharing of fomites, and residence in tropical climates were also associated with higher rates of infection while sex, seasonality, and hygiene showed no such association.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude to Health*
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eczema / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Molluscum Contagiosum / epidemiology*
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Swimming Pools