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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1999 Aug;43(8):2032-7.

Comparison of glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium isolates and glycopeptide resistance genes of human and animal origins.

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  • 1Belgian Reference Centre for Enterococci, Department of Microbiology, University Hospital Antwerp, Universitaire Instelling Antwerpen, Antwerp, University of Ghent, Ghent, Belgium.


One hundred thirty-two glycopeptide-resistant Enterococcus faecium (GREF) isolates from different hospitals and pig and poultry farms in Belgium were compared on the basis of (i) their antibiotic susceptibilities, (ii) their SmaI pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) patterns, and (iii) the organization of their Tn1546 or related elements in order to detect possible phenotypic and genotypic relationships among both groups of isolates. Human and animal vanA-positive GREF isolates were found to have similar susceptibility patterns; they remained susceptible to gentamicin and were, in general, susceptible to ampicillin. PFGE demonstrated a very high degree of genomic heterogeneity in both groups of isolates. However, indistinguishable isolates were found within different farms or hospitals, and in two instances, epidemiologically unrelated pig and human isolates showed indistinguishable PFGE patterns. In total, eight different transposon types were identified, and all were related to the prototype transposon Tn1546. The two predominant types, Tn1546 and type 2 transposons, which differed at three band positions, were present in both human and animal isolates. Type 2 transposons were significantly associated with pig isolates. The other types were seldom detected. These data suggest a possible exchange of glycopeptide resistance markers between animals and humans.

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