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Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) strains possessing the Panton Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) gene have been detected in the Netherlands recently. The PVL gene encodes a highly potent toxin, which is involved in severe skin infections and necrotising pneumonia. PVL positive MRSA strains have also been noted in France (in healthy individuals; mean age 14 years), in the United States (for example, in the Los Angeles gay community, and in a large prison), and in Scotland (small outbreaks of skin abscesses in healthcare staff. The Scottish MRSA reference laboratory is now routinely screening both methicillin susceptible S. aureus (MSSA) and MRSA for the PVL gene). It has been suggested that the PVL MRSA is acquired in the community (1-3).


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