Warts are caused by viral infections. The virus can also spread to other places on the body.


Warts and molluscum contagiosum are caused by an infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV). You can get warts from skin-to-skin contact or by coming into contact with anything that has been touched by someone with a wart.

Risk Factors

  • Touching surfaces that have been in contact with someone’s warts
  • Children and young adults
  • People with weakened immune systems


  • Warts may appear as flat bumps that are thick, rough to the touch, and sprinkled with black pinpoints. Warts that grow on the soles of the feet are often flat or grow inwards because of the pressure.
  • Molluscum contagiosum may appear as small round bumps and are common in children and people with weakened immune systems.


The doctor will examine the warts for any spreading and may refer the patient to a dermatologist.


  • Peeling medication such as salicylic acid and 5-fluorouracil
  • Cream that stimulates the immune system to eliminate the warts such as imiquimod
  • Injection (bleomycin)
  • Freezing or laser treatment that eliminates viral warts. Molluscum contagiosum may be removed by the doctor. 


The best prevention method is to avoid contact with HPV by:
  • Always washing and drying your hands and feet.
  • Avoiding direct contact with warts. This includes your own warts.
  • Examining warts on children to prevent them from spreading.
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