What is the prognosis of molluscum contagiosum?

Updated: Aug 09, 2018
  • Author: Ashish C Bhatia, MD, FAAD, FACMS; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The prognosis in molluscum contagiosum is generally excellent because the disease is usually benign and self-limited. Spontaneous resolution generally occurs by 18 months in immunocompetent individuals; however, lesions have been reported to persist for as long as 5 years. In healthy patients, treatments are usually effective, although lesions can be disfiguring and may produce anxiety in the patient, family, and daycare facility or school.

Recurrences occur in as many as 35% of patients after initial clearing. The significance of these recurrences is unknown. They may represent reinfection, exacerbation of ongoing disease, or new lesions arising after a prolonged latent period.

The disease often becomes generalized in patients who are infected with HIV or are otherwise immunocompromised. A direct correlation has been found between increasing severity of the disease and lower CD4 counts. The duration of infection is uncertain in populations with HIV infection and in populations that are otherwise immunocompromised (eg, patients who have undergone renal transplant), because molluscum contagiosum may not be self-limiting in these cases.

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