When you are infected with the molluscum contagiosum virus, it takes a while before the lesions actually appear. The reason for this is because there is an incubation period before the onset of symptoms. This is from the time of exposure to the virus (for example, when your child touches the lesions of another child) to the onset of symptoms. According to the CDC (Center for Diseases Control), it typically takes anywhere from 2 to 7 weeks before the bumps appear. In some people, this incubation period can be up to 6 months.
The mollusca, another word for molluscum lesions, are usually raised and pearly in appearance and firm to the touch. They are typically small in size, from 2 to 5 millimeters in diameter. You can click here to see more photos of what the lesions look like.
Your child will not be contagious to other children until the lesions appear on the skin. However, once the bumps appear, that is when you need to take precautions to prevent spreading of the virus to others around them.
Molluscum contagiousum will remain infectious until all of the lesions have disappeared. Because this virus only affects the top layer of skin, once the bumps have completely disappeared, you will not transmit the virus to anyone else. Unlike the herpes virus, molluscum does not remain dormant in your body once the rash has disappeared.
Though not dangerous, this virus can be itchy and annoying to have. It is important to get diagnosed by your doctor as soon as you see symptoms of molluscum. Do not wait.