The result: The team determined that the real risk for spreading warts came from exposure to people in their home or classroom who had warts, not through the use of public spaces.
Bruggink's team suggested that public health efforts should place a greater focus on the risk that comes from such relatively intimate contact, rather than on the hazards of communal environments.
Practically speaking, such a shift in approach would not necessarily involve a radical change, they said. Rather, it would mean, for example, that children should be encouraged to cover their warts with bandages while at home, rather than when going for a swim.
Dr. Joceyln Glassberg, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Scott and White Healthcare in Round Rock, Texas, said she believes the Dutch team's observations accurately reflect the nature of how HPV is actually spread.
"The study findings make sense since HPV is a contact-borne virus, and children have the most contact with their household members and school friends," she said. "It is a great reminder that if anyone has a wart [they should] cover it to prevent spreading the virus."
For more on the human papilloma virus, visit the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
SOURCES: Sjoerd Bruggink, M.D., department of public health and primary care, Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, Netherlands; Joceyln Glassberg, M.D., ob/gyn, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Scott and White Healthcare, Round Rock, Texas; May 2013 Pediatrics
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