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Are Warts Contagious?

are-warts-contagious

ANSWER:

Warts ARE contagious.

More Info: Like most viruses, HPV is spread from person to person.  The virus can also be transmitted through objects that have been exposed to the virus like towels and bathmats.  The virus usually enters the body through a break in the skin such as a cut or a hangnail.

Picking at a wart can also help it to spread to other parts of the body.

What Are Warts?

Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).  In the United States, over 6 million people contract an HPV infection annually. One of the most common viruses in the world, HPV attacks the mucosal and skin areas of the body.   There are over 100 types of HPV each affecting the body differently. Some types are harmless causing skin growths known as common warts. Other types can be deadly like those that cause cervical cancer.  More than 60 strains of HPV cause common warts.

How Does the Virus Attack?

Like all viruses, HPV needs a host to survive.  It invades the host’s cells and inserts genetic material. It may go into a lysogenic phase where it sits dormant or a lytic phase where the virus works to take over the cell and reproduce.  In the case of the common wart, the virus attacks the cells of the top layer of skin.  It can take two to six months for the outward visible signs of the virus to appear on the skin.

 

Resources

Corp., Stressgen. “The Human Papilloma virus.” The Oral Cancer Foundation – Information, Support, Advocacy, Research… and Hope. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. <http://www.oralcancerfoundation

“Common warts: Causes – MayoClinic.com.” Mayo Clinic medical information and tools for healthy living – MayoClinic.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/common-warts/DS00370/DSECTION=causes.

“What Is HPV What is HPV? .” American Cancer Society :: Information and Resources for Cancer: Breast, Colon, Prostate, Lung and Other Forms. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerCauses/OtherCarcinogens/InfectiousAgents/HPV/HumanPapillomaVirusandHPVVaccinesFAQ/hpv-faq-what-is-hpv.

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