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"PVL-CoCo": contact cohort study-PVL-bearing staphylococcus aureus infections

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If Staphylococcus (S.) aureus carries the PVL toxin (PVL= Panton Valentine leukocidin), its virulence is considerably increased. PVL is particularly associated with severe and recurrent skin and soft tissue infections (sometimes massive abscesses).

Infections with a PVL strain are frequently described in travelers returning to their home countries. At the Institute of Tropical Medicine and International Health of the Charité, about 30-50 outpatients with a PVL strain are treated per year. Diagnostics and therapy of infections with imported PVL-forming S. aureus are poorly known and insufficiently researched in Germany.

StaphTrav ( is a network of 12 centers in 7 European countries investigating the introduction of S. aureus with characteristics such as MRSA and PVL toxin in intercontinental travelers with pus-filled skin infections. The Tropical Institute Berlin has included over 400 outpatients in this study since 2011. The experience and knowledge gained from this study provide the basis for a new study, "PVL-CoCo" (contact cohort), which started in January 2019. "PVL-CoCo" is investigating the potential for PVL-positive staphylococci to spread from ill travelers. "PVL-CoCo" is a collaboration with Heidelberg University (Institute of Global Health and Department of Infectiology, Medical Microbiology and Hygiene).

Project details

Project leader: Dr. med. Andreas Lindner, MSc

Collaboration: Physicians Team Tropical Medicine Outpatient Clinic

Cooperation: University of Heidelberg: Institute for Global Health and Department of Infectiology, Medical Microbiology and Hygiene

StaphTrav (

Charité working group "PVL-forming Staphylococcus aureus"

Project duration: ongoing since 2019

Project status: inclusion of >35 contact cohorts until 12/2020

Funding: Charité and University of Heidelberg internal funds


Leistner R, Hanitsch LG, Krüger R, Lindner AK, Stegemann MS, Nurjadi D. Skin Infections Due to Panton-Valentine Leukocidin–Producing S. Aureus. Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2022;119:775-84.

Lindner AK, Hommes F, Nikolai O, Martinez GE, Gürer B, Krüger R, Leistner R, Nurjadi D, Mockenhaupt FP, Zanger P. Imported Panton-valentine leucocidin (PVL)-positive Staphylococcus aureus skin infections: patients' perspective on quality of life and quality of medical care. J Travel Med. 2022(29)4:taac047.

Jhelum H, Čerina D, Harbort CJ, Lindner AK, Hanitsch LG, Leistner R, Schröder JT, von Bernuth H, Stegemann MS, Schürmann M, Zychlinsky A, Krüger R, Marsman G. Patients with recurrent PVL+-Staphylococcus aureus infections show enhanced sensitivity to PVL-mediated formation of atypical NETs. BioRxiv.

Nurjadi D, Fleck R, Lindner A, Schafer J, Gertler M, Mueller A, Lagler H, Van Genderen PJJ, Caumes E, Boutin S, Kuenzli E, Gascon J, Kantele A, Grobusch MP, Heeg K, Zanger P, StaphTrav N. 2019. Import of community-associated, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus to Europe through skin and soft-tissue infection in intercontinental travellers, 2011-2016. Clin Microbiol Infect 2019;25(6):739-746.