Is Molluscum Contagiosum The Same As HPV?

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that develops in various parts of the body except for palms and soles. HPV is also a viral infection that appears on the skin of genitals, palms or soles. Both cause appearance of bumps on the skin with their own characteristic features. Both are different type of infections. However, they are transmitted in the same manner. They are also treated in a similar way with medicines and minor surgeries. But, HPV lesions are more contagious and harmful than molluscum bumps.

Is Molluscum Contagiosum The Same As HPV?

Is Molluscum Contagiosum The Same As HPV?

Molluscum contagiosum and HPV are two different viral infections. Molluscum bumps are small sized, round, firm and raised pearly lesion on the face, genitals, trunk, and extremities. HPV lesions are irregular shaped comparatively large raised bumps that develop in genitals, palms, and soles. They can be differentiated from each other from the below-discussed points.

Molluscum contagiosum is a viral skin affection characterized by a small hard and raised bump on the skin. It is caused by a virus named molluscum contagiosum virus. This virus is a member of the poxvirus family. It appears singly or in groups in the form of white papules on the skin. It is most common in children. However, it can appear at any age. It develops in the face, trunk, and extremities in children. In adults, it appears on genitals, abdomen and inner side of thighs.

HPV or warts are irregular flesh colored bumps that appear on genitals, palms of hands or soles of feet. They are also caused by virus human papillomavirus. It can spread to other parts when scratched or shaved. It is a sexually transmitted disease. It appears in adults who are sexually active. However, the affected mother can transmit this disease to her babies during the process of birth.

Molluscum contagiosum and HPV both are caused by DNA viruses. Both of them have raised bumps. Both are contagious conditions that can spread by sexual contact. But they are two different diseases. They can be distinguished by the following points-

Size And Shape– molluscum bumps are small papules with a whitish center appearing like a pearl. They appear as a single bump or in groups. Their size is two to five mm. They do not increase in size. They are nearly round shaped bumps. They are in the shape of a dome that has a depression in its center.

Warts Are Irregularly Shaped Bumps– they are flesh colored bumps. They tend to grow and are found in groups like a cauliflower. They are oval-shaped growth with irregular edges. They are larger in size than molluscum bumps.

Color– molluscum are flesh colored with a pearly appearance. They have a smooth surface. Warts are also flesh colored, sometimes grayish or brown in color. They tend to have rough structures.

Location- molluscum lesions are seen in the facial area, neck, chest, abdomen, groin, genitals and extremities. They do not appear on the palms of the hand or soles of the feet. HPV Warts appear only in genitals or around the genitals or around the anus. They can also appear on palms or soles. They are not seen in other parts of the body.

Incidence– molluscum contagiosum appears more commonly in children. However, it can also develop in adults. Warts appear more commonly in adults. They can develop in infants only when exposed directly to the virus during birth process from an affected mother. If they develop in children, then it is a sign of sexual abuse in them.

Contagious status– molluscum lesions are contagious only up to the presence of the bumps. Once, the bumps start to dry up, they are not contagious. After they fade away, they are not at all contagious. Warts tend to dry up and are contagious even during and after it dries away.

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Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 12, 2019

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