Childhood Molluscum Contagiosum Can Last Up To Two Years

Jonathan Olsen Institute of Primary Care and Public Health Cardiff University Heath Park Interview with:
Jonathan Olsen
Institute of Primary Care and Public Health
Cardiff University Heath Park Cardiff

MedicalResearch: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Molluscum Contagiosum is a common skin condition in children which has a prevalence of between 5.1% to 8% in children aged 14 years and under. Strikingly however, there is little epidemiological evidence describing the natural history, transmission between family members and impact upon quality of life of molluscum contagiosum. Our research aimed to address this gap in evidence by conducting a prospective cohort study of UK children recruited by clinical and self-referral using the validated Molluscum Contagiosum Diagnostic Tool for Parents (MCDTP).

We recruited 306 children during 2013 and showed that on average lesions will last for 12 months, however 30% still had lesions at 18 months and 13% still had lesions at 24 months. Most children experienced only a small effect on their quality of life from the condition, however 1 in 10 experienced a large or very large impact on their quality of life. The condition was shown to be highly contagious with further transmission between children living in the same household as an index case shown in 40%.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Response: For most children molluscum contagiosum will have only a small effect on their quality of life, however children with a greater number of lesions may experience a greater effect on their quality of life. Parents should be aware that there is risk of transmission to other children living in the household, however there is little evidence of whether steps can be taken to reduce this risk.

The idea that molluscum contagiosum is always a benign, trivial illness needs to be challenged.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: We recommend that treatment should be considered for children with the condition, in particular those experiencing a significant impact on their quality of life and with a more severe episode of the disease (larger number of lesions).

In first instances a well conducted treatment trial should be conducted to assess the effects of therapeutic approaches.


Time to resolution and effect on quality of life of molluscum contagiosum in children in the UK: a prospective community cohort study
Jonathan R Olsen, MSc Prof John Gallacher, PhD, Prof Andrew Y Finlay, FRCP,
Prof Vincent Piguet, FRCP, Nick A Francis, MRCGP

The Lancet Infectious Diseases Available online 23 December 2014

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