Journal Article

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci

Robert C. Moellering

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 26, issue 5, pages 1196-1199
Published in print May 1998 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online May 1998 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI:
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci

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Enterococci, a part of normal gut flora, are not particularly pathogenic organisms in humans. For example, they do not cause respiratory tract infections. The most frequent enterococcal infections are urinary tract infections. Despite their lack of pathogenicity, enterococci have emerged as significant nosocomial pathogens in the United States and elsewhere. Enterococci are formidable pathogens because of their resistance to antimicrobial agents. Enterococci are intrinsically resistant to β-lactam agents and aminoglycosides and were the first bacteria to acquire vancomycin resistance. Infection control measures have been far from effective at preventing the dissemination of vancomycinresistant enterococci in the hospital. Therapy for infections due to vancomycin-resistant enterococci presents real challenges. Most isolates remain susceptible to nitrofurantoin, but this agent is useful only for urinary tract infections. The greatest threat posed by vancomycin-resistant enterococci is the potential to transfer their resistance genes to more pathogenic gram-positive bacteria, which could produce truly frightening pathogens.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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