Warts no more a clear sign of child abuse

Oct. 4, 2005 at 2:40 PM
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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C., Oct. 4 (UPI) -- Pediatricians at Wake Forest University say they no longer consider warts a clear sign of child abuse.

The physicians at Brenner Children's Hospital, part of Wake Forest's Baptist Medical Center, say most pediatricians are trained to call social services if they discover a child with genital or anal warts to report a possible case of child abuse.

But they note research indicates symptom alone might not indicate a child has been abused.

"We have seen over the past few years an increase in the number of human papillomavirus cases -- the virus which causes anal and genital warts -- in adults and in children," said Dr. Sara Sinal, a pediatrician at Brenner Children's Hospital. "However, we were seeing younger children with this virus and many times had no other signs that abuse was taking place.

"We are not ruling child abuse out as a possible cause for the infection in children under the age of four," Sinal said. "However, when there are no other signs a child is being abused, we no longer feel it is necessary to report the family."

The research is published in the October issue of Pediatrics.

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