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Warts of the hands and feet are common in children. In Holland (British Journal of Dermatology 2009;161:148–52) the hands and feet of 1465 primary school children aged 4–12 years were examined. One third (33%) of the children had warts; 20% plantar warts, 9% hand warts, and 4% both. Three quarters of the children with warts had only one or two. Children of white European origin were 60% more likely than other children to have warts. The prevalence of warts increased between the ages of 4 and 9 years and plateaued after that. The answers to parental questionnaires suggested that barefoot activities (use of public showers or swimming pools) were not associated with increased risk of warts. Increased risk was associated with having another family member with warts and with a high prevalence of warts in the school class. These researchers suggest that rather than concentrating on wearing protective footwear in communal showers, swimming pools, and changing areas it might be more profitable to look into other ways of preventing spread at home and in the classroom.

A remarkable survival story has been reported from London (Lancet 2009;374:387–92). An …

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