Mollusca contagiosa (water warts)

Water warts are caused by a viral skin infection. It is a contagious disease that mainly affects children. Flesh-coloured papules develop that usually resolve spontaneously within 6-12 months.

How do water warts develop?

Water warts are the result of an infection with a poxvirus. They are mainly seen in children older than one year old. Adults almost never get water warts, but are sometimes infected by children. Adults can also get water warts through sexual contact with someone who is infected with the virus.

Water warts are usually found on the trunk, in the neck and around the armpits. They also occur on the face, especially on the eyelids. In adults, water warts can be the result of sexual contact: water warts are often present in the pubic area and around the anus.


Treatment of the water warts is not usually necessary and spontaneous healing can be expected. When a decision is made to treat, there are several options.

Your treating doctor will discuss the treatment options with you.

Last modified on 6 July 2022


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