Anogenital Warts in Children

Anogenital warts are a sexually transmitted infection and it is uncommon amongst children because of this reason. It is however not unheard of because anogenital warts can be passed from the mother during birth and cause a number of complications. If a child does have a case of anogenital warts, it should raise the question of sexual abuse and this would be investigated further if a case arose. It is very difficult to pass on the HPV infection by sharing the same items such as towels because the virus cannot live for very long outside of the body so there would need to be an investigation to establish how the infection has arisen. This may be via sexual abuse or by vertical transmission from mother to newborn.

If a child has anogenital warts, they may have got it from their mother during birth. The infection does not display symptoms straight away and it can be months or even years before the warts develop. Therefore, it is hard to know whether the warts were passed onto the child during birth. There are some serious implications if the HPV virus is passed onto a child during birth because it can cause two types of infection. The first is anogenital warts where the warts appear in the genital area. If the mother is infected, the genital area of the baby would come into contact with the warts during its passage down the birth canal and so consequently the warts could be passed to the baby.

The second infection has much more serious implications. It can cause juvenile respiratory papillomatosis where the throat of the child becomes infected with the HPV virus. Warts grow within the child’s larynx and throat area, which can cause the passage to become blocked and cause breathing obstruction. Often, a number of surgeries are needed throughout the child’s life to remove the warts to allow them to breathe and as the HPV virus can cause recurring infections, the child might be ill for a long period of time.

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