Warts—A Common Infectious Disease
Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, MD
The warts commonly seen on the skin are caused by a viral infection. The culprit is one of the HPVs (human papillomaviruses) that can be spread from person to person or be acquired through contact with a contaminated surface.
HPVs have gained widespread attention for their proven role in the development of genital and anal cancers, particularly cancer of the cervix. Specific "high risk" types of HPV that infect the mucosal tissue that lines the genital area are responsible for these carcinogenic (cancer-causing) effects. "High risk" HPVs have also been implicated in the development of a subset of head and neck cancers that develop in the area of the tonsils.