Scabies vs Molluscum Contagiosum: Know the Differences

Difference between Scabies vs Molluscum Contagiosum: Scabies and Molluscum Contagiosum are skin conditions with differing causes and symptoms. Scabies occur due to the Sarcoptes scabies mite, which presents as severe itching and function burrow track on the skin, spreading through close touch. Treatment usually entails prescription medicines to remove the mites. Conversely, Molluscum Contagiosum, which is ults from the Molluscum Contagiosum virus, manifests as small, flesh-coloured bumps with a significant dimple, transmitting through direct skin-to-skin touch.

Difference between Scabies and Molluscum Contagiosum

Scabies occur because of a mite burrowing into the pores and skin and lead to intense itching. Molluscum Contagiosum occurs as small raised bumps with a dimple within the middle, notably contagious through pores and skin contact. The table below provides the differences between Scabies and Molluscum.



Molluscum Contagiosum

Causative Agent

Sarcoptes scabiei mite

Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV)


Direct skin-to-skin contact

Direct skin-to-skin contact, sexual contact, fomites (shared objects)

Rash Appearance

Red, raised bumps or blisters, often with linear or curving tracks

Flesh-coloured, dome-shaped papules with central dimple or umbilication

Location of Rash

Typically in folds of skin (e.g., between fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, waist, buttocks, genitals)

Anywhere on the body, commonly on the trunk, face, arms, and legs


Intense itching, especially at night

Usually no itching or mild itching


Highly contagious, especially in crowded environments

Contagious, but less so than Scabies


Topical scabicides (e.g., permethrin, benzyl benzoate), oral medications (e.g., ivermectin)

Can resolve without treatment, but treatments include cryotherapy, curettage, topical medications (e.g., imiquimod, podophyllotoxin)


Secondary bacterial infections due to scratching, Norwegian Scabies (crusted Scabies) in immunocompromised individuals

Secondary bacterial infections, potential scarring from treatment

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What are Scabies?

Scabies is an extremely contagious skin infestation caused by the Sarcoptes Scabies mite. These little mites delve into the epidermis, depositing their eggs and producing a rash that is unpleasant and frequently worse at night. It frequently affects the vaginal area, armpits, wrists, elbows, and spaces between the fingers. In congested living environments, Scabies can spread quickly and are transferred by close skin-to-skin contact. Prescription drugs are usually used in treatment to eradicate the mites and their eggs, coupled with precautions against re-infestation and transmission.

Causes of Scabies 

  • Direct Skin-to-Skin Contact: Holding hands, sharing a bed, or any prolonged, close contact with an infected individual are the main ways that Scabies are transmitted.
  • Living Conditions that are Crowded: Scabies are more likely to spread in settings like child care centres, nursing homes, and jails where individuals are frequently near one another.
  • Sharing Personal Stuff: The mites can spread by sharing linens, clothes, towels, or other personal objects with an infected person.
  • Weaker Immune System: Individuals receiving chemotherapy or living with HIV/AIDS are among those who have weaker immune systems and are more likely to get severe or long-lasting Scabies infections. 
  • Age: Scabies can strike anyone at any age, but because of their weakened immune systems and frequent contact with others, they strike youngsters and the elderly more frequently.
  • Poor Hygiene: While Scabies can afflict people regardless of their level of hygiene, bad hygiene can help the infestation spread.

Symptoms of Scabies 

  • Severe Itching: Severe itching is the most frequent symptom of Scabies. It usually gets worse at night and can get much worse after taking a hot bath or shower.
  • Rash: Tiny red pimples or blisters are the outward sign of a Scabies infestation. The rash could be found in skin folds around the waist, buttocks, elbows, wrists, fingers, and buttocks.
  • Burrows and Tracks: On the skin's surface, there may occasionally be thin, asymmetrical tracks or burrows visible. These result from mites entering the skin to deposit their eggs.
  • Secondary Infections: By causing skin breaches from scratching, impetigo and other bacterial infections are more likely to occur.

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum is a viral pore and skin infection characterized by the appearance of small, raised, flesh-coloured or pearly bumps on the pores and skin. These bumps may additionally have a relevant dimple or crater and are caused by the Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV), a member of the poxvirus's own family. It is fantastically contagious and spreads through direct skin-to-skin touch or by touching infected gadgets.

Causes of Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Direct Contact: The virus can unfold with an infected person through direct pores and skin-to-pores and skin touch. This can happen through sexual contact or non-sexual contact, along with sharing towels or apparel.
  • Indirect Contact: MCV can also spread in a roundabout way via touch with infected objects, together with towels, toys, garb, or surfaces like fitness centre equipment.
  • Skin-to-Skin Contact: Activities that involve close skin-to-skin contact, including wrestling, can boost the risk of transmission.
  • Compromised Immune System: Individuals with weakened immune structures, consisting of those with HIV/AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy, are extra at risk of Molluscum Contagiosum.
  • Children and Daycare Centers: Molluscum Contagiosum is not unusual in children because they tend to engage in near bodily touch and share toys. Daycare facilities and schools may be environments wherein the virus spreads easily among children.

Symptoms of Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Small, Flesh-Colored Bumps: The number one symptom is the arrival of small, round, flesh-coloured or red bumps on the pores and skin. These bumps are usually smooth and dome-fashioned, resembling tiny pearls or warts.
  • Central Dimple: Each bump often has a primary indentation or dimple, giving it a functional umbilicated look. This valuable dimple can also contain a white, waxy material.
  • Clusters of Bumps: Molluscum Contagiosum lesions often occur in clusters or groups, as opposed to remoted bumps.
  • Location: The bumps can appear on any part of the body however normally located on the face, neck, armpits, hands, palms, and genital vicinity. In children, they regularly look at the trunk, limbs, and face.
  • Itching or Irritation: While molluscum bumps are typically painless, they'll become itchy, angry, or gentle, especially if scratched or rubbed.

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Similarities between Scabies and Molluscum Contagiosum

  • Skin Lesions: Both Scabies and molluscum present with skin lesions. In Scabies, these lesions often appear as small, red bumps or burrows, typically found in the webs of fingers, wrists, elbows, armpits, waist, genital area, or buttocks. Molluscum lesions usually manifest as small, dome-shaped bumps with a central indentation or white core.
  • Transmission: Both conditions can spread through direct skin-to-skin contact. Scabies are caused by the Sarcoptes scabies mite, which burrows into the skin, while Molluscum Contagiosum is caused by the Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV), which infects the skin.
  • Contagiousness: Both Scabies and molluscum are contagious. Close contact with an infected person can lead to transmission of the conditions.
  • Itching: While itching is a hallmark symptom of Scabies, it can also occur with molluscum, though it tends to be less severe.

In summary, while both Scabies and Molluscum Contagiosum can cause skin lesions and are contagious, they are a result of exclusive organisms and require specific strategies for treatment. If one thinks or doubts about having one of these, it's essential to seek advice from a healthcare professional for an accurate analysis and appropriate remedy.

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What is Scabies?

The microscopic mite Sarcoptes scabiei is the source of the contagious skin condition known as Scabies. It results in a recognisable rash and severe itching.

How do Scabies spread?

Usually, intimate personal contact with an infected individual spreads Scabies. Sharing towels, blankets, or clothing can potentially spread it.

What is Molluscum Contagiosum?

Molluscum Contagiosum is a contagious skin contamination resulting from the Molluscum Contagiosum virus (MCV). It ends in raised, round bumps at the pores and skin.

How is Molluscum Contagiosum transmitted?

Molluscum Contagiosum is unfolded via direct pores and skin-to-skin contact or touch with contaminated objects like towels or toys.

What are the signs of Molluscum Contagiosum?

Symptoms include small, flesh-coloured or pearly bumps with a dimple or indentation in the middle. These bumps can be itchy, sore, or painless.