Verrucae pedis (verrucae / VPs) are a common viral infection of the skin seen in children. There are limited studies of the prevalence, duration and impact of verrucae pedis in children who are immunosuppressed. The studies available suggest that, in these children, the warts are more widespread and are more long-standing. The primary aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of verrucae pedis in children attending rheumatology clinics who may have some degree of immunosuppression due to their prescribed medication and compare this to the reported prevalence in the healthy population.
Children attending out-patient rheumatology appointments were recruited. The young people were aged between four and 17 years old. A visual inspection of both feet was used to identify potential verrucae. Diagnosis of a verruca pedis was confirmed on observation of the typical clinical features. The location, duration of presence, previous treatments, presence of verrucae in other family members and psychological impact was recorded.
A total of 71 children were included. Of the group, 55 children had no verrucae present, 16 children had one or more verrucae. The prevalence of verrucae was 22.5%. Medication impacting on the immune system was prescribed in 80% of the group. There appeared to be no greater chance of having verrucae if taking immunosuppressive medication than compared to having no medication (OR = 1.1, 95%CI 0.26 to 4.48, p = 0.46). Children with verrucae tended to be between 9 and 12 years old. In total, 37.5% of the young people with verrucae had lesions reportedly present for 24 months or more. Two-thirds of the participants were not concerned about verrucae being present and most participants with a verruca were not aware of what a verruca was, but despite this the majority of participants (81%) had sought treatment for the verrucae.
Children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and other rheumatic conditions have no greater prevalence of verrucae compared to the general population. The verrucae present were of a similar clinical type and did not seem to be more widespread or have atypical features, which has been reported in other immunocompromised populations. The percentage of lesions remaining beyond 24 months was found to be slightly greater than has been reported in other healthy populations. The children in this study seemed to be less emotionally concerned about their verrucae, despite this most families had sought treatment for the verrucae.