Molluscum contagiosum is a benign skin tumor of humans resulting from enhanced basal cell proliferation. The disease was first described by Bateman in 1814 and the characteristic intracytoplasmic inclusion bodies (molluscum bodies) were described independently in 1841 by Henderson and Paterson. The viral etiology of the disease was eventually established in 1905, when Juliusberg successfully transmitted the disease to one of three individuals inoculated with a filtered extract of molluscum contagiosum lesions. Molecular studies of the virus have been greatly hindered by the nonavailability of a means of propagation in vitro.

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