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Semin Pediatr Infect Dis. 2005 Oct;16(4):306-16.

Human papillomavirus infections of the genital and respiratory tracts in young children.

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Department of Pediatrics, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, USA.


Human papillomavirus (HPV) causes papillomas (warts) on the skin and respiratory mucosal surfaces (laryngeal and oral papillomas) in addition to condyloma acuminata (anogenital warts). HPV has become one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in adults. Vertical transmission from mother to infant during birth is well recognized. Laryngeal papillomas are the most common tumors of the larynx in children worldwide, and recurrent lesions are common occurrences. Anogenital warts in children are problematic in that child sexual abuse is a potential means of acquisition, but many cases are acquired perinatally. Postnatal acquisition by nonsexual means also can occur. The likelihood of sexual abuse as the mode of acquisition increases with increasing age in childhood. The virus infects primarily epithelial cells, where it can exist as a long-term latent infection that can reactivate or persist actively (even subclinically), with resultant accumulation of host chromosomal mutations. The latter accounts for the oncogenic potential of a number of HPV types, and childhood infections may lead to neoplasia later in life. Regression of papillomas over the course of months to years is the usual natural course. Numerous treatments are available, but most do not prevent persistent infection or problematic recurrences. Multivalent HPV vaccines have been developed, and early results of clinical trials appear to be very promising.

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