Enterococcus

Definition:

A genus of Gram-positive bacteria that includes several bacteria that cause infections in people.

Enterococci are ubiquitous coccoid Gram-positive bacteria that can also be pathogenic. The genus Enterococcus comprises several species, with E. faecalis and E. faecium being the most abundant enterococcal species in humans.

Enterococci have adapted to survive in healthcare environments and are an important cause of healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Such enterococci are considered to be a specific type or ‘clade’, distinct from commensal gut enterococci. Healthcare-associated enterococci are typically multidrug-resistant, with some isolates resistant to glycopeptides such as vancomycin (vancomycin-resistant enterococci, VRE). This can make treatment of these infections challenging.