NEW YORK (Reuters Health) Feb 28 – A French research team has found that the strain of Staphylococcus aureus that carries the gene for Panton-Valentine leukocidin (PVL) is associated with a rapidly progressive, hemorrhagic, necrotizing pneumonia found in children and young adults.
Writing in The Lancet for March 2, Dr. Jerome Etienne, from the National Reference Centre for Staphylococcal Toxaemia, Lyon, and colleagues report on 16 cases of PVL-positive S. aureus pneumonia, median 14.8 years of age, and compare them with 36 cases of PVL-negative S. aureus pneumonia, median 70.1 years of age.
Twelve of the patients with PVL-positive S. aureus pneumonia had had flu-like symptoms for 2 days before being admitted to the hospital compared with three of 33 patients with PVL-negative S. aureus pneumonia (p < 0.0001), the investigators note.
The French team found temperatures higher than 39 degrees C (p = 0.01), heart rates above 140 beats per minute (p = 0.02), hemoptysis (p = 0.005), onset of pleural effusion during hospitalization (p = 0.004), and leucopenia (p = 0.001) more often in PVL-positive patients than in PVL-negatives.
Forty-eight hours after hospital admission the survival rate for patients with PVL-positive S. aureus pneumonia was 62.5% compared with 94% for patients with PVL-negative S. aureus pneumonia (p = 0.007), Dr. Etienne's group reports.