Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Rev Med Virol. 1999 Jan-Mar;9(1):15-21.

High risk genital papillomavirus infections are spread vertically.

Author information

Department of Virology, Guy's, Kings and St Thomas' Medical School, Kings College London, St Thomas' Hospital, UK.


It is well recognised that high-risk human papillomaviruses (HPVs) are spread by sexual activity, but the possibility of non-sexual transmission remains controversial. We present evidence for vertical transmission from at least 30% HPV positive mothers to their infants, resulting in persistent infection in children. That the mother is the source of infant infection has been confirmed by DNA sequencing. We also discuss the evidence for oral HPV-16 infection in children. In our own studies, HPV-16 DNA was detected in buccal cells from 48% children, aged 3-11 and transcriptionally active infection was confirmed in some children. Other studies have reported prevalences of 19%-27% among children less than 11 years of age. Studies that have failed to detect high-risk HPVs in children have used techniques which were insufficiently sensitive to detect the low levels of virus present. Serological studies also suggest that < or = 45% prepubertal children have acquired HPV-16. Thus, convincing evidence is now available for vertical transmission of high risk HPVs, which probably results in widespread infection among children. The consequences of such infections remain to be elucidated.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Support Center