Although viral warts are common, their exact frequency in the community is often underestimated and not well recorded. A random sample of 2491 students from schools throughout the State of Victoria, Australia were examined by dermatologists and dermatology registrars to record the prevalence of common, plantar and plane warts. The overall prevalence of warts adjusted for the age and sex of Victorian school children was 22% (95% confidence interval (CI) 20.1-20.7) varying from 12% (95% CI 9.4-15.7) in 4-6 year olds to 24% (95% CI 18.3-30.4) in 16-18 year olds. Common warts were the most frequent (16%) compared with plantar warts (6%) and plane warts (2%). There was no difference in the overall frequency of warts between males and females and there was no difference in frequency between those who had eczema and those who did not. Almost 40% of those found to have warts on examination had indicated on the survey questionnaire that they did not have any of these lesions. Of those who knew that they had warts, only 38% had used any treatment for them. These data, the first community-based prevalence data on warts ever published from Australia, confirm that warts are indeed common. They suggest the need for education programmes in schools on the nature of these lesions and the treatment available.