Molluscum Contagiosum in a Pediatric American Indian Population: Incidence and Risk Factors

Background

Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) causes an innocuous yet persistent skin infection in immunocompetent individuals and is spread by contact with lesions. Studies point to atopic dermatitis (AD) as a risk factor for MCV infection; however, there are no longitudinal studies that have evaluated this hypothesis.

Methods

Outpatient visit data from fiscal years 2001–2009 for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children were examined to describe the incidence of molluscum contagiosum (MC). We conducted a case-control study of patients <5 years old at an Indian Health Service (IHS) clinic to evaluate dermatological risk factors for infection.

Results

The incidence rate for MC in children <5 years old was highest in the West and East regions. MC cases were more likely to have a prior or co-occurring diagnosis of eczema, eczema or dermatitis, impetigo, and scabies (p<0.05) compared to controls; 51.4% of MC cases had a prior or co-occurring diagnosis of eczema or dermatitis.

Conclusions

The present study is the first demonstration of an association between AD and MC using a case-control study design. It is unknown if the concurrent high incidence of eczema and MC is related, and this association deserves further investigation.