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March 2001

Butcher's Warts: Dermatological Heritage or Testable Misinformation?

Arch Dermatol. 2001;137(3):384-385. doi:

During a local discussion of human papillomavirus (HPV), mention was made of the association of HPV-7 with butcher's warts, an association that has appeared on numerous in-service and certification examinations of the American Board of Dermatology. Residents have developed tortuous mnemonics to remember this connection, eg, "butcher has 7 letters," or "7 looks like a meat cleaver." This time, in conference, the resident's question was, "Are we saying that butcher's catch HPV-7 from the meat?" When none of the staff physicians had the answer, we looked into the history of this association and found that "what everybody knows" may be wrong.

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