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Empyema thoracis secondary to community-acquired Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection
  1. Shahbaz Piracha1,
  2. Syeda Saba Muneer Ahmed1,
  3. Samira Mohd Afzal2 and
  4. Muhammad Badar Ganaie1
  1. 1 Department of Respiratory Medicine, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  2. 2 Department of Infectious Diseases, University Hospitals of North Midlands NHS Trust, Stoke-on-Trent, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Shahbaz Piracha, shahbazpiracha{at}


We report a case of a previously fit middle-aged man presenting to the outpatient setting with unilateral pleural effusion, with minimal symptoms. On subsequent investigations, he was diagnosed with empyema thoracis secondary to Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL)-toxin positive community-acquired methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). The patient was treated with prolonged antibiotics and pleural drainage, and he remained haemodynamically stable throughout hospital admission. PVL is a cytolytic exotoxin produced by some strains of S. aureus. Such strains often cause recurrent skin and soft tissue infections, usually in previously fit and healthy individuals. Less commonly, invasive infections occur; these carry a high mortality rate if associated with necrotising pneumonia or septic shock. PVL genes are present in approximately 2% of clinical isolates of S. aureus in the UK. PVL-producing MRSA infections are on the rise and present significant clinical and public health challenges.

  • empyema
  • drugs: infectious diseases
  • pleural infection
  • pneumonia (respiratory medicine)
  • cardiothoracic surgery

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  • Contributors SP and MBG: planned and drafted the article, and took patient consent. SP, MBG and SMA: patient management and data collection. SSMA: drafting the article and microbiology discussion. SP and MBG: critical revision of the article and approval of the final version for publication.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Patient consent for publication Obtained.