The molecular epidemiology of molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) infections was investigated by restriction endonuclease analysis of the genomes of 222 separate isolates collected from 147 patients living in Germany (33 patients), Hong Kong (6 patients), and Scotland (108 patients). MCV type 1 (MCV-1) caused 96.6% of the infections, and MCV type 2 (MCV-2) caused 3.4%. However, isolates from four of the 142 MCV-1-infected patients and two of the five MCV-2-infected patients showed minor differences in their DNA restriction patterns because of the loss of a single or very few recognition sites for the enzymes used. No genome variations were detected amongst isolates collected from different sites or on several occasions from individual patients or from closely related patients. Southern blot hybridization revealed a high level of relatedness between MCV-1 and 2. No differences were seen in the appearance or anatomical localization of lesions caused by either virus type. In particular, there was no preferred genital localization for MCV-2 infections.