How is Molluscum Diagnosed?

Molluscum ExpertAbout Molluscum

How is Molluscum Diagnosed

Molluscum lesions (bumps) are usually flesh-colored, dome shaped, pearly or waxy in appearance. Some lesions display an dimpled (umbilicated) recess in the center.

Children typically have lesions (bumps) on the torso, legs, arms and face. Adults usually develop lesions in the genital region, but outbreaks can manifest on other parts of the body. Unlike warts, it generally does not affect the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. Diagnosis is usually visually determined by a trained physician, but it is sometimes confirmed by biopsy, scraping and additional lab work.

There is no molluscum “test kit.”

Diagnosis of molluscum contagiosum is generally made by clinical appearance of the pustules. Since molluscum contagiosum is very common, health care providers are likely to recognize molluscum by visual characteristics. The diagnosis may also be confirmed by excisional biopsy or scraping. GRAM staining will show keratinocytes containing eosinophilic cytoplasmic inclusion bodies. Electron microscopy will display the poxvirus. Microscopic observation of the tissues will locate the molluscum viral bodies in the epidermis over the stratum basale.

While the clinical appearance of molluscum is likely sufficient for diagnosis (and additional testing unnecessary), lesions near the genitalia may prompt the physician to investigate other STI´s and to rule out other possible unnoticed disorders.

The healthcare provider may evaluate other areas of the skin, genitals, eyelids, mouth, palms and soles (as warts may affect palms but molluscum does not).

Molluscum lesions (bumps) are usually flesh-colored, dome shaped, pearly or waxy in appearance. Some lesions display an dimpled (umbilicated) recess in the center.

Children typically have lesions (bumps) on the torso, legs, arms and face. Adults usually develop lesions in the genital region, but outbreaks can manifest on other parts of the body.

Molluscum lesions may be isolated, yet are often clustered.

HIV positive patients can develop larger (>1cm) lesions.

By systematic comparison, the identification or elimination of other diseases with similar symptoms are considered, including:

  • Herpes
  • Syphilis
  • Disseminated Cryptococci’s
  • Skin Histoplasmosis
  • Folliculitis
  • Squamous carcinoma
  • Basil cell carcinoma
  • Fungal lesions
  • HPV (including genital warts)
  • Pimples

 

Molluscum ExpertHow is Molluscum Diagnosed?