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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2000 Nov;19(11):816-22.

Prevalence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in Europe.

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  • 1University Medical Center St Radboud, Department of Medical Microbiology, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.


The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in Europe. Overall, 49 laboratories in 27 countries collected 4,208 clinical isolates of enterococci. Species identification, susceptibility testing, and van gene determination by polymerase chain reaction were performed in a central laboratory. Overall, 18 vanA and 5 vanB isolates of VRE were found. The prevalence of vanA VRE was highest in the UK (2.7%), while the prevalence of vanB VRE was highest in Slovenia (2%). Most vanA and vanB VRE were identified as Enterococcus faecium. Most VRE isolates originated from the patient's urogenital tract, skin, or digestive tract. VRE were equally distributed among clinical departments, with no clear preponderance in any single patient group. A total of 71 isolates containing the vanC gene were identified. The prevalence of vanC VRE was highest in Latvia and Turkey, where rates were 14.3 and 11.7%, respectively. Two-thirds of these isolates were identified as Enterococcus gallinarum and one-third as Enterococcus casseliflavus; the majority of these isolates were cultured from feces. Almost all isolates were obtained from hospitalized patients, mostly children. The highest prevalence of high-level gentamicin-resistant enterococci was seen in Turkey and Greece. In general, the distribution of this resistance type seemed unrelated to the occurrence of VRE. The prevalence of vanA/ vanB VRE in Europe is still low; the majority of the VRE isolates exhibit the vanC genotype and colonize the gastrointestinal tract of hospitalized children.

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