DNA hybridisation of 309 consecutive clinical isolates with oligonucleotide probes specific for genes encoding Panton-Valentine leucocidin (luk-PV) and y-haemolysin (hlg) revealed that 99% of randomly selected strains carried the hlg locus whereas only 2% harboured the -PV as well as the loci. Only 1% of the strains did not possess either gene. In a clinical prospective study of independent strains, 58 Panton-Valentine leucocidin (PVL)-producing isolates were shown to be responsible for primary skin infections, mainly furuncles (86 %). Phage susceptibility patterns and pulsed field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) profiles of DNA were shown to be polymorphic epidemiological markers of PVL-producing strains. In eight patients with recurrent furuncles, the PVL-producing strains isolated either from furuncles or from the anterior nares were considered to be identical in each based upon phage sensitivity profiles or PFGE patterns.


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