Wart. View of a large wart on the finger of a 56 year old woman. Warts are contagious, but harmless. They are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV), of which there are at least thirty different types. They are very common. The infection affects only the outermost layer of skin, giving warts a firm, sharply defined appearance. Around half of all warts disappear spontaneously within a year. They can also be removed by chemicals, by freezing (cryotherapy), by scraping (curettage), by burning (cautery), or by laser treatment.
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