What is a wart?
Warts are small rough growths on the skin caused by a virus (HPV, human papilloma virus). Warts are contagious and easily spread to other people and to other parts of your body. You may be infected both through direct contact and from places like public changing rooms and swimming pools. It is common that warts are passed between family members. Warts may be tender and also embarrassing.
The appearance of warts may differ. Some grow inwardly, typically on the soles of your feet. Some grow outwardly and take the shape of a cauliflower. These are most common on your hands and the rest of the body. Warts can go away by themselves, but it normally takes a long time. Most warts disappear within two years but some remain. Warts may return after treatment and it is not unusual for someone to have warts for many years.
Children are often affected
Everyone can get warts, but children and other people with weak immune systems are more likely to get warts on their hands and feet. Studies have shown that more than 1/3 of all children between 4-12 years are affected by warts 2. It is not unusual for children to have lots of warts. Adults also get warts.
(2) F.M. van Haalen et al. British Journal of Dermatology 2009 161, pp 148-152