How does the prevalence of molluscum contagiosum vary among age groups?

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 rare in children younger than age 1 year, perhaps because of maternally transmitted immunity and a long incubation period; otherwise, incidence seems to reflect exposure to others. The greatest incidence is in children younger than age 5 years and in young adults. The peak among the pediatric age group correlates with casual contact, whereas the peak in young adults correlates with sexual contact. [13, 14]

Spread of the virus among households is common in warm climate countries where children are lightly dressed and in close contact with one another and where personal hygiene may be poor. The age of peak incidence is reported to be 2-3 years in Fiji and 1-4 years in the Congo (formerly Zaire). In New Guinea, the annual infection rate for children younger than age 10 years was found to be 6%.

In cooler climates, spread within households is less common, and infection is more common at a later age. Use of school swimming pools is correlated with childhood infections, with a peak incidence in children aged 10-12 years in Scotland and 8 years in Japan. Prevalence appears to be increasing in all age groups.

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