HPV is spread by direct and indirect contact from an infected host. Avoiding direct contact with infected surfaces such as communal changing rooms and shower floors and benches, avoiding sharing of shoes and socks and avoiding contact with warts on other parts of the body and on the bodies of others may help reduce the spread of infection. Infection is less common among adults than children.
As all warts are contagious, precautions should be taken to avoid spreading them. The British National Health Service recommends that children with warts:
cover them with an adhesive bandage while swimming
wear flip-flops when using communal showers
should not share towels.
Plantar warts are not prevented by inoculation with currently available HPV vaccines because the warts are caused by different strains of the human papillomavirus. Gardasil protects against strains 6, 11, 16, and 18, and Cervarix protects against 16 and 18, whereas plantar warts are caused by strains 1, 2, 4, and 63.