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Molluscum (Molluscum Contagiosum)

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Swimming Pools and Molluscum Contagiosum

Parents and others often ask if molluscum virus can be spread in swimming pools. There is also concern that it can be spread by sharing swimming equipment, pool toys, or towels.

Some investigations report that spread of molluscum contagiosum is increased with swimming pool use. However, it has not been proven how or under what circumstances swimming pools might increase spread of the virus. Activities related to swimming might be the cause. For example, the virus might spread from one person to another if they share a towel or toys. More research is needed to understand if and for how long the molluscum virus can live in swimming pool water and if such water can infect swimmers.

Open sores and breaks in the skin can become infected by many different germs. Therefore, people with open sores or breaks from any cause should not go into swimming pools.

If a person has molluscum bumps, the following recommendations should be followed when swimming:

  • Cover all visible growths with watertight bandages
  • Dispose of all used bandages at home
  • Do not share towels, kick boards or other equipment, or toys

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