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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Is Panton-Valentine leucocidin associated with the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in the UK?

BACKGROUND: The morbidity and mortality associated with Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL)-positive Staphylococcus aureus suggest that this toxin is a key marker of disease severity. Nevertheless, the importance of PVL in the pathogenesis of primary bacteraemia caused by S. aureus is uncertain. We have determined the prevalence of PVL-encoding genes among isolates of S. aureus from bacteraemic patients. METHODS: Consecutive bacteraemia isolates of S. aureus (n=244) from patients hospitalized in 25 centres in the UK and Ireland during 2005 were screened for PVL and mecA genes. PVL-positive isolates were characterized by toxin gene profiling, PFGE, spa-typing and MIC determinations for a range of antimicrobials. RESULTS: Four out of 244 isolates (1.6%) were PVL-positive and susceptible to oxacillin [methicillin-susceptible S. aureus (MSSA)]. Eighty-eight out of 244 (36%) were oxacillin-resistant (methicillin-resistant S. aureus), but none was PVL-positive. The four patients (two males: 30 and 33 years; two females: 62 and 80 years) had infection foci of: skin and soft tissue, unknown, indwelling line, and surgical site, and were located at one centre in Wales, one in England and two in Ireland. One of four PVL-positive isolates was resistant to penicillin and fusidic acid, the remainder were susceptible to all antibiotics tested. Genotypic analyses showed that the four isolates represented three distinct strains; the two isolates from Ireland were related. CONCLUSIONS: We found that 1.6% of S. aureus (all MSSA) from bacteraemic patients were PVL-positive. This low incidence suggests that PVL-positive S. aureus are of no particular significance as causative agents of S. aureus bacteraemia.[1]


  1. Is Panton-Valentine leucocidin associated with the pathogenesis of Staphylococcus aureus bacteraemia in the UK? Ellington, M.J., Hope, R., Ganner, M., Ganner, M., East, C., Brick, G., Kearns, A.M. J. Antimicrob. Chemother. (2007) [Pubmed]
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