Perinatal transmission of human papillomavirus type 16 (HPV-16) and persistence of virus DNA in infants until 6 months of age has been described. To confirm the origin of infant infections as maternal, we determined the nucleotide sequence of the upstream regulatory region (URR; bp 7540 to 157) of HPV-16 in samples from 13 HPV-16 DNA-positive mothers and their infants at 6 weeks and 2 years of age. Identical HPV-16 variant URR sequences were found in two mother/infant samples and similar variants were found in three sets. Four mothers with samples which contained prototypic HPV-16 sequences delivered infants who also had the prototypic sequence. Four mothers with variant URRs delivered infants who harboured either prototypic or different URR variants. Thus, concordant variants or prototypic sequences were detected in nine of 13 mother/infant samples, indicating that up to 69.2% of HPV-16-positive infants acquire virus from their mothers.


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