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Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

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Specific Frequently Asked Questions for Policymakers and Businesses

For general questions and answers about this disease, please see Frequently Asked Questions for Everyone.

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Should an employee be able to work if he or she has molluscum contagiosum?

If an employee who comes in physical contact with clients regularly (e.g., aesthetician, health care provider) is diagnosed with molluscum contagiosum by a health care professional, it would be reasonable to require that he/she cover visible lesions with a watertight dressing while at work even though there has only been one reported case series of nosocomial (health care provider-to-patient) transmission of molluscum contagiosum. Otherwise, no special precautions are needed.

What precautions can be taken to avoid the spread of molluscum contagiosum at a facility and in the community?

The first thing to consider when developing regulations regarding individuals with molluscum contagiosum is that the disease is benign, with rare exceptions, such as in persons with significant immune compromise. It is easier for a person to catch the common cold virus or the flu virus than it is to catch molluscum contagiosum. The molluscum contagiosum virus remains in the skin and does not circulate throughout the body; therefore, it cannot be spread by coughing, sneezing, etc. The disease can only be spread by direct contact with infected persons or objects contaminated with the virus.

Several precautions can prevent or reduce spread to uninfected people:

  1. Frequent and correct hand hygiene practices. For handwashing tips and information, see the Clean Hands Saves Lives sitelet at
  2. Requiring notation of molluscum contagiosum on examinations requested for employment*/camp/sports physicals.
  3. Recommending that all visible lesions be covered by a watertight dressing, if molluscum contagiosum is diagnosed by a health care professional during a physical examination.
  4. Routinely disinfecting shared equipment (e.g., kick boards, wrestling mats). The molluscum contagiosum virus is not particularly difficult to kill and usual sanitation procedures should be sufficient.

*Recommended only for employees with regular physical contact with clients (e.g., aestheticians, health care professionals, day care employees) who are normally required to have skin examinations during pre-employment physicals.

Contact CDC

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases (NCEZID)
Division of High-Consequence Pathogens and Pathology (DHCPP)
1600 Clifton Rd
Atlanta, GA 30333
Public Inquiries:
(404) 639-4129

Safer Healthier People

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd, Atlanta, GA 30333, U.S.A
Tel: (404) 639-3311 / Public Inquiries: (404) 639-3534 / (800) 311-3435