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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 1997 Feb;16(2):113-9.

Enterococcus faecium in hospitals.

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  • 1Dulwich Public Health Laboratory & Medical Microbiology, King's College School of Medicine & Dentistry, London, UK.


Most of the characteristics that have ensured the success of enterococci as nosocomial pathogens were described early in this century. Enterococcus faecium and Enterococcus faecalis, the enterococci most frequently isolated from clinical material, differ fundamentally. The intrinsic antimicrobial resistance of Enterococcus faecium, supplemented by acquired resistance mechanisms, can generate a glycopeptide-multiply-resistant nosocomial pathogen that survives on hands and in the environment, and has the potential for intra-hospital and inter-hospital spread. The use of terms such as 'an enterococcus', 'faecal streptococci' and 'group D streptococci' have hindered, and still hinder, our understanding of a species rapidly emerging as the most problematic of nosocomial pathogens.

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