Enterococcus faecium

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Enterococcus faecium
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Phylum: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Family: Enterococcaceae
Genus: Enterococcus
Species: E. faecium
Binomial name
Enterococcus faecium
(Orla-Jensen 1919)
Schleifer & Kilpper-Bälz 1984

Enterococcus faecium is a Gram-positive, alpha-hemolytic or nonhemolytic bacterium in the genus Enterococcus.[1] It can be commensal (innocuous, coexisting organism) in the human intestine, but it may also be pathogenic, causing diseases such as neonatal meningitis or endocarditis.

Vancomycin-resistant E. faecium is often referred to as VRE.[2]

Some strains of E. faecium are used as probiotics in both animals[3] and humans.[4]

Pathogenic Properties        [edit]

This bacterium has developed multi-drug antibiotic resistance and uses colonization and secreted favors in virulence (enzymes capable of breaking down fibrin, protein and carbohydrates to regulate adherence bacteria to inhibit competitive bacteria). The enterococcal surface protein (Esp) allows the bacteria to aggregate and form biofilms. Additional virulence factors include aggregation substance (AS), cytosolin, and gelantinase. AS allows the microbe to bind to target cells and it facilitates the transfer of genetic material between cells.[5]

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci[edit]

Enterococcus faecium has been a leading cause of multi-drug resistant enterococcal infections over Enterococcus faecalis in the United states. Approximately 40% of medical intensive care units reportedly found that the majority, respectively 80% and 90.4%, of device-associated infections (namely, infections due to central lines, urinary drainage catheters, and ventilators) were due to vancomycin- and ampicillin-resistant E.faecium. [6]

Persons infected or colonized with VRE are more likely to transmit the organism. Transmission depends primarily on which body site(s) harbor the bacteria, whether the body fluids are excreted and how frequently health care providers touch these body sites. Patients infected or colonized with VRE may be cared for in any patient care setting with minimal risk of transmission to other patients provided appropriate infection control measures are taken.[7]

VRE Symptoms[edit]

Enterococcus infections, including VRE infections, cause a range of different symptoms depending on the location of the infection. This includes infections of the bloodstream, urinary tract infections (UTI), and wound infections associated with catheters or surgery. Wound infections associated with catheters and surgery can cause soreness and swelling at wound site, red, warm skin around wound, and fluid leakage. Urinary tract infections can cause frequent or intense urge to urinate, pain or burning sensation while urinating, fatigue, and lower back or abdominal pain. Bloodstream infections can cause fever, chills, body aches, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea.[8]

Genome sequences[edit]

Genomes listed below are from the Integrated Microbial Genomes website.

The 22 sequenced Enterococcus faecium genomes

Strain ST CC17 Country Year
1,231,408 582 Yes NA NA
1,231,501 52 No NA NA
Com15 583 No USA (MA) 2006
1,141,733 327 No NA NA
1,230,933 18 Yes NA NA
1,231,410 17 Yes NA NA
1,231,502 203 Yes NA NA
Com12 107 No USA (MA) 2006


Linezolid or daptomycin is used to treat VRE infections. The streptogramins, such as quinupristin/dalfopristin, may also be used for VREs. VRE can be successfully treated with sultamicillin.[9]


  1. ^ Ryan KJ, Ray CG (editors) (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). McGraw Hill. pp. 294–5. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9. 
  2. ^ Mascini EM, Troelstra A, Beitsma M, et al. (March 2006). "Genotyping and preemptive isolation to control an outbreak of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium". Clin. Infect. Dis. 42 (6): 739–46. PMID 16477546. doi:10.1086/500322. 
  3. ^ http://www.purinaveterinarydiets.com/Product/FortiFloraCatNutritionalSupplements.aspx
  4. ^ Sisson, G.; Ayis, S.; Sherwood, RA.; Bjarnason, I. (Jul 2014). "Randomised clinical trial: A liquid multi-strain probiotic vs. placebo in the irritable bowel syndrome--a 12 week double-blind study.". Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 40 (1): 51–62. PMID 24815298. doi:10.1111/apt.12787. 
  5. ^ Agudelo Higuita, Nelson I.; Huycke, Mark M. (2014). Gilmore, Michael S.; Clewell, Don B.; Ike, Yasuyoshi; Shankar, Nathan, eds. Enterococci: From Commensals to Leading Causes of Drug Resistant Infection. Boston: Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. PMID 24649504. 
  6. ^ "Enterococcal Disease, Epidemiology, and implications for treatment .Nelson I. Agudelo Higuital. MarkM. Huycke. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. created February 2014.
  7. ^ "ENTEROCOCCAL INFECTIONS, VANCOMYCIN RESISTANT". Infectious Disease Epidemiology Section Office of Public Health, Louisiana Dept of Health & Hospitals. http://ldh.louisiana.gov/. Revised 9/8/2008.
  8. ^ "VRE in Healthcare Settings | HAI | CDC". www.cdc.gov. Retrieved 2017-05-23. 
  9. ^ Chewning JH; et al. (2011). "Vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium bacteremia successfully treated with high dose ampicillin sulbactam in a pediatric patient after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation". J. Pediatr. Hematol. Oncol. 33: 401. PMID 21602724. doi:10.1097/MPH.0b013e31820db7eb. 

Further reading[edit]

Sadowy, E; Luczkiewicz, A (14 March 2014). "Drug-resistant and hospital-associated Enterococcus faecium from wastewater, riverine estuary and anthropogenically impacted marine catchment basin.". BMC microbiology. 14: 66. PMC 4004213Freely accessible. PMID 24629030. doi:10.1186/1471-2180-14-66. Retrieved 12 November 2014. 

External links[edit]