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n. a genus of spherical Gram-positive bacteria formerly classified as species of Streptococcus. They are normal inhabitants of the human and animal intestine but a few species, notably E. faecalis and E. faecium, can cause infections in humans. They are responsible for some hospital-acquired infections and have been found in teeth with persisting disease after root canal treatment. Enterococci have the ability to survive under adverse (starvation) conditions and are therefore difficult to eradicate; there is concern at the development of strains resistant to glycopeptide antibiotics, such as vancomycin (glycopeptide-resistant enterococci, GRE).

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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