Routine notification of Staphylococcus aureus producing the Panton-Valentine Leucocidin toxin (PVL-SA) to the North East & Central London Health Protection Unit, a communicable disease control unit covering a population of 2.8 million, identified 115 cases in 2009-2010, including 99 skin and soft tissue infections (SSTIs), 15 severe infections and one asymptomatic colonisation. Most cases occurred in children and young adults, unequally distributed geographically and socio-economically. The majority of infections were community acquired and 60% were caused by methicillin resistant strains. Overall, 27% of cases had previous SSTIs, and 32% had contacts with SSTIs suggestive of PVL-SA albeit these were not confirmed microbiologically. This suggests that characteristics of PVL-SA infection in cases and their families are not recognised as such leading to delay in diagnosis and low case ascertainment. A lack of governance around effective case management may also be contributing to the burden of disease. Further studies are recommended to evaluate key aspects of PVL-SA management including the effectiveness of decolonisation in the elimination of carriage and prevention of local spread.
- " Panton-Valentine leukocidin"
- " Staphyloccus aureus"