Objective: Several studies have demonstrated that infants can acquire human papillomavirus (HPV) infection at birth from their mothers. The aim of the present investigation was to determine prevalence of HPV infection among pregnant women and evaluate the extent of perinatal transmission of HPVs to infants.
Methods: The study included 135 pregnant women and their infants. The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was performed to detect HPV DNA in cervical cells of the women and buccal cells of the infants.
Results: HPVs detected were genotyped by PCR using type specific primers. HPV DNA was identified in 38 mothers (28.14%, 38/135) and 14 babies (10.37%, 14/135). The prevalence rate of HPV type 16 was highest both in HPV positive maternal (63.15%, 24/38) and baby samples (85.71%, 12/14). At birth, the frequency of HPV transmission from infected mothers to their infants was 18.42% (7/38). The proportion of infants with HPV infection delivered by cesarean section was 78.57% (11/14).
Conclusion: Cesarean section was not found protective for infants against perinatal HPV transmission. Infection in the infants was cleared within one year. This is the first report of its kind from India.