Diagnosing molluscum contagiosum 

The spots caused by molluscum contagiosum (MC) are usually easy to recognise.

Your GP should be able to diagnose the condition without carrying out further tests.

Confirming a diagnosis

If your GP thinks that the infection may be caused by something other than MC, they may want to carry out some tests.

For example, they may take a sample from one of the spots to test it for the molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV). This is known as a skin biopsy.

If you have spots on your genitals, your GP may refer you to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic to be tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

If you prefer, you can go to an STI clinic directly. Consultation is confidential and free.

Referral to a specialist

Your GP may refer you to a specialist if:

  • you have HIV and your symptoms are severe
  • you have a weakened immune system for another reason – such as receiving chemotherapy
  • you have spots on your eyelids or near your eye, and/or your eye is red or painful

Page last reviewed: 01/10/2014

Next review due: 01/10/2016