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Warts (Common Warts)

What are warts? What causes warts? Are warts contagious?

Warts are local growths in the skin caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. There are over 100 types of HPV. Some HPV types infect the genital and oral mucosa and produce large masses, some of which may become cancerous. Other HPV types are responsible for benign common skin warts that are not associated with cancer. Although warts are considered to be contagious, it is not uncommon for just one family member to have them. In addition, they often affect just one part of the body (such as the hands or the feet), but they can be spread to other areas by picking them. The form taken by the wart infection seems to be dependent on the genetic type of the wart virus and its anatomical location. For example, the same type of wart virus can cause common hand warts as well as plantar warts.

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Reviewed on 7/24/2017

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