Neonatal Molluscum Infections Likely Vertically Transmitted

Case report describes maternal infection prior to vaginal delivery

TUESDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Neonatal molluscum contagiosum infections are probably transmitted vertically, based on the findings of a case study published online Jan. 11 in Pediatrics.

Janiene D. Luke, M.D., and Nanette B. Silverberg, M.D., of St Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York City describe the case of a 33-year-old pregnant woman who presented with skin lesions on her inner thighs and labia majora consistent with molluscum contagiosum infection, and the subsequent vaginal term birth of her baby who developed molluscum contagiosum lesions on her scalp at 2 weeks of age.

The authors write that the mother refused therapy, but, at 9 months, the baby was treated with short-contact topical cantharidin for lesions on her face, chest, back and thigh, and made a full recovery. Molluscum contagiosum lesions concentrated in the genital region tend to be secondary to sexual transmission, while intrapartum vertical transmission produces the more typical widespread distribution of papules, the doctors note.

"Because molluscum contagiosum is highly infectious, it is possible that a similar mechanism of infection through an infected birth canal is the etiologic factor in neonatal and infantile cases," the authors write. "We have reported a case of congenital molluscum contagiosum virus infection in which maternal infection was clinically documented before vaginal delivery. The presence of lesions within the first six weeks of life is likely caused by vertical transmission."

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