You get warts by coming in contact with the human papillomavirus (HPV) that caused them.
What Causes Warts?
Warts are caused by the human papillomavirus. The virus causes the cells of the top layer of the skin to grow rapidly forming small growths. There are more than 100 types of HPV. Most are harmless, such as warts, but there are types that are deadly such as the type that causes cervical cancer.
Are Warts Contagious?
Like any virus, HPV is contagious and can be spread from person to person. You can contract the virus indirectly as well by touching something that has been infected by HPV. You usually contract the virus through breaks in your skin, hangnails, and even nail biting. It can take up to six months from the time of initial contact and infection to see the telltale raised bump on your skin.
Like any virus, some people are more susceptible than others are. Children tend to get them most frequently, likely due to nail biting and pulling at hangnails. People with suppressed immune systems also have a higher likelihood of contracting warts.
Warts can sometimes disappear, especially in children, with no treatment.
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.
“Warts.” American Academy of Dermatology. N.p., n.d. Web. 14 Oct. 2010. http://www.aad.org/public/publications/pamphlets/common_warts.html.