Human papillomavirus in the oral cavities of children and adolescents

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ObjectiveThe purpose of this pilot study was to determine the frequency of human papillomavirus (HPV) in the oral cavities of children and adolescents and to identify potential risk factors for HPV infection.Study DesignSociodemographic information was obtained on 268 healthy infants, children, and adolescents who were ≤20 years old. Oral squamous cells were collected from swabs with young children and from oral saline solution rinses with older children and adolescents. Extracted DNA was evaluated for HPV by polymerase chain reaction, dot blot hybridization, and DNA sequencing. Factors associated with the presence of HPV were tested by using χ2, Fisher’s exact test, and logistic regression tests.ResultsHPV was detected in 6.0% of the participants. HPV frequency among young children (<7 years old) was 8.7% (11/127), and among adolescents (13-20 years old) it was 5.2% (5/97). HPV was not detected in children aged 7 to 12 years old (0/44). Fifty-four percent (6/11) of HPV-positive children were 1 year of age or less; 3 of the HPV-positive children (<7 years old) were delivered by cesarean section. No statistically significant association was found between the detection of HPV in the oral cavity and method of delivery or gender; parent’s race, education, HPV-related conditions, smoking history, or number of sex partners; or adolescent’s smoking history or history of sexual activity.ConclusionsThis study suggests that HPV is present in the oral cavity primarily in children 2 years old and younger and in adolescents 13 years and older. Cesarean delivery was not protective against oral HPV infection; in fact, half of the HPV-positive infants were born by cesarean delivery.

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