Warts, Malnutrition, and Sunshine


Address correspondence to Rocío Orozco-Topete, M.D., Dermatology Department, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición, “Salvador Zubirán,” Vasco de Quiroga 15, Delegación Tlalpan CP 14000, México City, México, or e-mail: rorozco@quetzal.innsz.mx.


Abstract:  Viral warts are common in poor rural settings but their relationship to malnutrition has not been studied. We sought to determine the prevalence of warts in children of two communities in Oaxaca, Mexico, and compared it with their nutritional status. Children from Santa Catarina Yahuio and Santiago Laxopa of the state of Oaxaca were examined. Localization, number, and type of verruca were noted. Date of birth, height, and weight were obtained to determine nutritional status. A total of 213 children (116 girls and 97 boys), 107 in Yahuio and 106 in Laxopa, were studied. Mean age was 10.24 years. Thirty children (14.1%) had warts and 80% (24/30) of these lived in Yahuio (p = 0.0002). Almost half were teenagers. Most lesions were on sun-exposed areas. First degree malnutrition was found in 24.5%; second degree in 23.6% and third degree in 14.2%. A higher frequency of warts than previously reported was found. Malnutrition was prevalent in both groups but did not correlate positively with verruca. Verruca were more frequent in females, adolescents, sun-exposed areas, and higher altitude. We believe that the higher altitude of Yahuio facilitates greater exposure to ultraviolet light-induced immune suppression.