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Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus
Panton-Valentine Leukocidin producing MRSA
Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) is a toxic substance produced by some strains of MRSA and is associated with an increased ability to cause severe infection.
How the infection is spread and its symptoms
If PVL-MRSA enters the body i.e. through a cut or open wound it can cause harm, including recurrent boils or skin abscesses. It is occasionally associated with more serious infections of the lungs, blood, joints and bones.
PVL-MRSA can be spread by:
- Skin-to-skin contact with someone who is already infected, for example close family, or during contact sports
- Contact with an item or surface that has PVL-MRSA on it from someone else, for example shared gym equipment, shared razors, shared towels.
Clinical specimens: Depending on the part of the body that is infected, blood, wound, urine or other specimens may be sent to the laboratory to detect MRSA and other organisms. Once MRSA is detected, it is further tested for the presence of the PVL by sending the MRSA isolate to a reference laboratory.
The boils and abscesses are dealt with by making a small incision and draining them, whilst some other infections can be treated with antibiotics. The PVL-MRSAs carried on your skin may be eliminated with a five day skin treatment (washes, creams and shampoos). This ensures that the spread of bacteria is reduced and that there is less chance of a repeat infection.
Prevention and protection
There are numerous ways to prevent spread of PVL-MRSA. These include:
- Keeping infected areas of body covered with clean and dry dressings/plasters
- Not touching/pokeing/squeezeing infected areas
- Good hand hygiene
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- Advice for those affected by MRSA outside of the hospital www.clean-safe-care.nhs.uk/ArticleFiles/Events/MRSA_Advice.pdf
- HPA (2006).
- MRSA information for patients in hospital www.oxfordradcliffe.nhs.uk/forpatients/infection_control/icdocs/090326hpamrsa.pdf
- HPA (2008).
- Guidance on the diagnosis and management of PVL-associated Staphylococcus aureus infections (PVL-SA) in England www.hpa.org.uk/web/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1218699411960
- NHS Choices website MRSA