Pearled papules over tattoo: Molluscum cotagiosum

Ricardo Ruiz-Villaverde, Daniel Sánchez-Cano

PAMJ. 2013; 16:49. Published 11 Oct 2013 | doi:10.11604/pamj.2013.16.49.3442

A 23-year-old immunocompetent man attended to our dermatology unit complaining asympthomatic pearled papules over a previous black tattoo performed over his right abdominal flank. Past medical history was unremarkable. Physical examination showed several umbilicated skin-coloured papules on the tattooed skin and the surrounding skin. Serology results for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, and HIV were negative. Histology of one of the papules demonstrated multiple molluscum bodies. Curettage in programmed sessions was effective. No recurrences have been observed after 6 months. Molluscum contagiosum (MC) is a viral infection caused by a poxvirus. They are most commonly observed in children with atopic dermatitis although its incidence has increased in adults, predominantly due to HIV infection. Concretly when MC lesions affects perineal area, a sexually transmitted disease (STD) may be suspected. Common STD should be rule out. In our patient the appearance of molluscum lesions on the tattoo may be due to transmission of the virus through the instruments used in its implementation or prior contamination of the ink. Koebner phenomenon or "isomorphic response" is the main cause of the spread that many patients present at the time of consultation. Therapeutical approach includes three categories: a) Destructive: curettage, cryotherapy and topical application of keratolytic agents (potassium hydroxide 5–10% in aqueous solution); b) immunomodulatory: imiquimod 5% cream and c) antiviral: podofilotoxin solution, cidofovir. Otherwise in certain cases papules resolve spontaneously.
Corresponding author
Ricardo Ruiz-Villaverde, Dermatology Unit. Complejo Hospitalario de Jaen, Jaen, Spain; Carretera Bailen-Motril s/n 23001 Jaen, Spain (

This image

Articles published in PAMJ are Open Access and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0).

eISSN: 1937-8688

The Pan African Medical Journal (ISSN: 1937-8688) is a subsidiary of the Pan African Medical Journal. The contents of this journal is intended exclusively for professionals in the medical, paramedical and public health and other health sectors.

Currently tracked by: DOAJ, AIM, Google Scholar, AJOL, EBSCO, Scopus, Embase, IC, HINARI, Global Health, PubMed Central, PubMed/Medline, ESCI

Physical address: Kenya: 3rd Floor, Park Suite Building, Parkland Road, Nairobi. PoBox 38583-00100, tel: +254 (0)20-520-4356 | Cameroon: Immeuble TechnoPark Essos, Yaounde, PoBox: 10020 Yaounde, tel: +237 (0)24-309-5880