Fri, Oct 18, 2019 - Page 2 News List

HPV can survive outside body: Kaohsiung doctor

By Fang Chih-hsien and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The human papillomavirus (HPV) could survive in warm and humid environments for more than a day, an urologist in Kaohsiung said after a 50-year-old woman said she suspects she contracted the virus from a sauna and spread it to her daughter.

The patient, who was diagnosed with genital warts, said she only has one sexual partner — her husband — and that her husband has been faithful to her, said Cheng Pin-jui (鄭斌睿), director of the Kaomei Urologic Clinic’s branch on Cisian Road, on Monday.

Her daughter, who is in the sixth grade, was later discovered to also have been infected.

The virus may have been transmitted to the daughter through a shared towel, he said.

Since genital warts have an incubation period of three weeks to nine months, the daughter might have contracted the virus before her mother showed any symptoms, he said.

While genital warts are most often spread through sexual contact, they can also be transmitted “indirectly” at public facilities — such as toilets and saunas, he said.

Typically, the HPV types that cause genital warts survive just two to three hours outside the human body, he said, adding that if the virus is in a warm and humid environment, it can survive more than a day.

If someone then makes skin contact with a contaminated surface, they could be infected, he said.

People should cover the lower halves of their bodies with a clean towel when they are at the sauna or hot spring to avoid direct contact with public facilities, he said.

The HPV vaccine also lowers the risk of contracting the virus, he said.

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