Warts spread at home, school

April 22, 2013

Cutaneous warts in schoolchildren are spread most commonly at home and at school, and preventive measures should be focused on limiting human papillomavirus transmission in families, according to a recent study.

 

Cutaneous warts in schoolchildren are spread most commonly at home and at school, and preventive measures should be focused on limiting human papillomavirus transmission in families, according to a recent study.

Warts are common in school-age children, but the routes of transmission of human papillomavirus (HPV) that causes warts are not well known. Researchers with Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands, inspected the hands and feet of more than 1,000 children ages 4 to 12 from three schools. Investigators noted the presence of warts at baseline and after 11 and 18 months of follow-up, according to the study abstract.

Researchers also distributed questionnaires that sought information about pre-existing warts, warts in the family, prevalence of warts at baseline and use of public places such as swimming pools, in an effort to collect data about the degree of HPV exposure.

Overall, the incidence for developing warts was 29 per 100 person-years at risk (95 percent confidence interval [CI] 26-32). Children with white skin had an increased risk of contracting warts (hazard ratio [HR] 2.3, 95 percent CI 1.3-3.9).

Independent environmental risk factors were having family members with warts (HR 2.08, 95 percent CI 1.52-2.86) and wart prevalence in the class (HR 1.20 per 10 percent increase, 95 percent CI 1.03-1.41).

“The degree of HPV exposure in the family and school class contributes to the development of warts in schoolchildren,” study authors wrote. “Preventive recommendations should focus more on limited HPV transmission in families and school classes, rather than in public places.”

The study was published online April 22 in Pediatrics.