The Molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) is a species of virus in the poxvirus family, which causes the disease Molluscum contagiosum in humans. Virions have a complex structure and is consistent with the structure of the poxvirus family: a surface membrane, a core, and lateral bodies. Virus may be contained within inclusion bodies and mature by budding through the membrane of the host cell giving rise to a large amount of viral shedding in a short period of time. Approximate measurements of the virus are 200 nm in diameter, 320 nm in length and 100 nm in height.
Diagnosis is made on the clinical appearance; the virus cannot routinely be cultured. The diagnosis can be confirmed by excisional biopsy. There are 4 types of MCV, MCV-1 to -4. MCV-1 is the most prevalent in human infections, and MCV-2 seen usually in adults and often sexually transmitted.Polymerase chain reaction techniques are being developed to help confirm lesions as being caused by MCV, and distinguish between strains.
The genome is a non-segmented single molecule of linear, double-stranded DNA of 180000–200000 nucleotides. It is covalently linked at both ends and contain redundant, repeating sequences at both ends. 160 putative genes have been identified.
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