Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL): guidance, data and analysis

The characteristics, diagnosis, management, surveillance and epidemiology of Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL)-producing strains of Staphylococcus aureus.

Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) is a toxin produced by some strains of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus). The bacterium can cause cellulitis, abscesses, boils and carbuncles.

Risks include close contact sports such as wrestling and rugby and sharing contaminated towels or razors. Rarely, PVL-producing S. aureus can cause septic arthritis, bacteraemia (blood poisoning) or necrotising pneumonia. Fifty years ago, a particular type of PVL-MSSA was fairly common in hospitals.

Public Health England monitors sporadic cases and suspected clusters of the disease in the UK.

Diagnosis and management

Data submission and epidemiology

For information on the surveillance of healthcare associated infections and antimicrobial resistance, or any of the research and advisory activities, contact the Healthcare Associated Infection and Antimicrobial Resistance Department by email at

Updates to this page

Published 2 April 2013