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Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the virus responsible for causing warts. There are over 100 different strains of HPV, and all forms are can be spread by direct, skin to skin contact. Different strains of HPV cause different types of warts. Some strains of HPV are able to cause several types of warts, while others may only have the ability to trigger one or two types of warts. A wart is not always guaranteed after exposure to HPV.
HPV enters the body through abrasions in the skin. Common warts, like the ones found on hands, occur when HPV enters the body through an opening in the skin. Something as small as a papercut, hangnail, or scrape leaves the skin open to HPV.
Plantar warts are often seen on the feet of swimmers or those who use public showers. The rough walls and floors of public pools leave slight abrasions on the bottoms of the feet. The abrasions combined with the large amount of barefoot people in the public area, heightens the risk for acquiring the HPV strain that leads to plantar warts.
Those at a higher risk for contracting HPV include: children and young adults, people with many sexual partners, those with skin punctures or damaged skin, and people with weakened immune systems. Not everyone carries the same risk for developing warts. Many may come into contact with HPV, and never develop a wart. Some people are just more prone to warts than others.
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