Skin Infection


Viral warts are skin infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) which infect the skin and cause rough skin growths. The virus can infect any part of the skin and is commonly seen on the fingers and soles of feet. Viral warts are contagious and they should be treated.

Treatment is by cryosurgery or laser surgery or a prescription medication.


Genital warts are transmitted by sexual contact and are caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). They have an average incubation period of three months, although they can develop anywhere within three weeks to eight months of exposure. The warts typically occur around the genital areas, the anus and the urinary passageways, appearing as single or multiple cauliflower-like pink or red swellings. They can be large and protruding, or flat. Other possible symptoms include itching, burning and tenderness around the affected area. Often, however, the warts may initially be painless and not cause any symptoms so patients may not be aware that they are infected.

Genital warts are most common among individuals aged 15 to 29. People who engage in frequent sexual activity with multiple partners have a higher risk of contracting the virus.

Not only are genital warts highly contagious, but there is strong evidence that the HPV virus causes cervical cancer in women, cancer of the penis in men, and anal cancer in both sexes. The HPV virus can also be transmitted from a pregnant woman to her child through the birth canal as she gives birth.

It is important that all sexual partners be treated for genital warts and screen for concomitant sexually transmitted diseases. Early recognition and prompt treatment can help prevent later complications. Young women should have vaccination against the HPV virus.

Genital warts can be very resistant. Many require more than one treatment. Close follow-up for a few months after complete clearing is necessary to ensure the absence of recurrences and new smaller warts within or near the treated area.

Treatment is by cryosurgery or laser surgery or a prescription medication.


Herpes simplex is a common viral infection. It presents as cold sores and is caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Once cleared it can recur and the infection become milder with subsequent recurrence.

There is no cure for herpes simplex. Most infection clears on its own without treatment. Many people choose to treat herpes simplex because treatment can relieve symptoms and shorten an outbreak. Prescription antiviral medicines are used.

Treatment is with Prescription antiviral medication.


Herpes zoster or shingles is most common in older adults and in persons who have reduced immunity. It only occurs if you have had chickenpox. After the chickenpox clears, the virus stays in the body. If the virus reactivates a painful, blistering rash appears. Anti-viral medication is given within the first 3 days of seeing the rash. Sometimes the rash may be accompanied by severe pain during or after the rash has subsided. This pain called post-herpatic neuralgia can be severe in older people and requires pain medication.

Treatment is by oral antivirals in the early stages and topical creams. To prevent herpes zoster, people above the age of 50 should be given vaccination.


Molluscum contagiosum is a small pink or flesh coloured firm, dome-shaped skin growth with a dimple in the centre. It is contagious and the virus easily spreads from person to person, sharing of towels and clothing and skin contact. The infection will eventually resolves on its own but recurrences are common.

Treatment is by prickling with a needle, cryosurgery, and topical creams.


Tinea versicolor is a dry and scaly skin rash caused by yeast. The spots can be white, red, tan or brown and are seen anywhere on the body. The spots become more obvious as the skin tans.

Treatment is by using prescription medication or shampoos.