Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)



Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) is a toxin produced by a small number of Staphylococcus aureus strains (1-2%). These may be meticillin susceptible (MSSA) or MRSA strains.

Infections with these strains can cause recurrent skin and soft tissue infections, and occasionally may cause more serious invasive infections (including necrotising pneumonia).

The laboratory will automatically perform a PVL detection test if indicated on the request form, or on any strain from samples with relevant clinical details. The test detects the presence of the toxin gene in the bacterial chromosome.

Positive cases should be discussed with the local Health Protection Team Telephone number 0300 303 8162, as screening of household contacts and decolonisation therapy may be required.

Further guidance is available at: External web site

Sample requirements

This test is performed on bacterial isolates only, and requires the presence of Staphylococcus aureus in the sample.

Required information

Relevant clinical details include:

  • Recurrent boils or abscesses
  • Persistent skin infections
  • Details of household outbreaks
  • Details of contact with positive cases


Not applicable

Turnaround time

Up to 2 weeks

Page last reviewed: 21/07/2014