Zoom in on microorganisms

Germs that infect humans

Human papillomavirus

Human papillomavirus

© Robert Alain, SME, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier

Microorganism: the human papillomavirus (HPV), family: Papovaviridae.

Disease: warts

Occurrence of the disease

Mechanism of action of the disease: the virus attacks the skin, and spreads by direct contact.

Symptoms of the disease: skin lesions (warts).

Incubation period: two to three months, on average.

Contagious period: unknown, but probably as long as the lesions are present.

Hosts: humans.

Transmission: usually by direct contact. Scratching may result in self-inoculation, i.e., propagation of the warts from one part of the body to another.

Treatment of the disease: warts usually disappear on their own within a few months or years, but may be removed with liquid nitrogen, lasers, or the direct application of podophyllum, a drug.

Geographical distribution of the microorganism: worldwide.

Prevention: avoidance of contact with infected individuals.

Vaccine: none.