Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a type of bacterium that can be found on healthy skin.
It can cause infections, such as abscesses and boils and prefers to live in moist areas of the body such as:
Some S. aureus bacteria can produce a toxin called Panton-Valentine Leukocidin (PVL) making it more difficult for the body to fight the infection. Panton and Valentine were two doctors who first discovered this chemical which destroys the white blood cells called leukocytes – hence the name ‘leukocidin’.
PVL-positive strains of bacteria are, therefore, more likely to cause skin infections and abscesses. They can also cause more serious conditions: