How is molluscum contagiosum virus classified?

Updated: Aug 09, 2018
  • Author: Ashish C Bhatia, MD, FAAD, FACMS; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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Molluscum contagiosum is a viral disease caused by a DNA poxvirus and is largely, if not exclusively, a disease of humans. It is an unclassified member of the Poxviridae family (ie, poxviruses).

The poxviruses are a large group of viruses with a high molecular weight. They are the largest animal viruses, only slightly smaller than the smallest bacteria, and are just visible using light microscopy. They are complex DNA viruses that replicate in the cytoplasm and are especially adapted to epidermal cells. They cannot be grown in tissue culture or eggs. Molluscum contagiosum virus has been grown in human foreskin grafted to athymic mice but not in other laboratory animals.

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