The Hidden Impact of Molluscum Contagiosum: A Survey of Caregivers’ Experiences with Diagnosis, Treatment, and Impact on Quality of Life

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Pearl Kwong
Adelaide Hebert
Collette Utley
Melissa Olivadoti


Molluscum contagiosum, molluscum, child, caregiver, quality of life, cantharidin, family practice, dermatology, surveys, questionnaires, legal guardians


Objective: Molluscum contagiosum (molluscum) is considered benign and self-limiting. However, the caregiver and patient experience largely remains a mystery.  This online survey aimed to collect caregivers’ views on their experiences with molluscum infection in their children, including diagnosis, treatment, and the impact of the virus on the caregivers’ and their child’s life. 

Methods: Parents, caregivers, and/or legal guardians (ages 18+, 20% male and 80% female) of children diagnosed with molluscum in the past 4 years (ages 3-16 years of age) answered a 15-minute paid online survey with questions about their experience with molluscum.

Results: Caregivers (n=150) were mostly Caucasian (85%), 25-44 years of age (87%) and had at least one child with active molluscum (75%) at the time of the survey. The average number of health care providers (HCPs) consulted for molluscum was 1.95 and diagnosis was made by a variety of HCP types.  The spread of molluscum to ≥ 1 child in the household was reported by 60% of caregivers in multi-child households.  The average number of treatments used were 2.36 including HCP-administered treatments and consumer products. Caregivers reported moderate to major impact on their lives (62%) or their child’s life (74%) due to molluscum.

Limitations: Questions were not validated, recall time was up to 4 years.

Conclusions:  Molluscum patients may receive a diagnosis from many sources.  Caregivers may utilize more than one treatment modality to help clear the infection including consumer products.  Molluscum can cause an impact on quality of life for affected children and their caregivers.


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