Molluscum Contagiosum: Papule Turned Pustule on the Leg of a Young Boy

September 14, 2005
Joe Monroe, PA-C

A papule on the leg of an 11-year-old boy had suddenly developed into a slightly tender pustule. The pustule had not responded to oral cephalexin and topical mupirocin prescribed by another clinician.

A papule on the leg of an 11-year-old boy had suddenly developed into a slightly tender pustule. The pustule had not responded to oral cephalexin and topical mupirocin prescribed by another clinician.

When Joe Monroe, PA-C, of Tulsa, Okla, examined the boy, he noted uninflamed papules-which had been present for several months-in the region of the pustule. Both the papules and the pustule represent molluscum contagiosum. This poxvirus infection usually manifests as firm, waxy, dome-like papules, most of which are umbilicated. Frequently, these papules become inflamed and even pustular for no obvious reason; bacterial infection is seldom involved. Simple incision and drainage hastens the resolution of the pustule, as was the case in this patient. Other treatment choices for molluscum contagiosum include cryosurgery and cantharidin application.

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