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Diagn Microbiol Infect Dis. 2007 Jun;58(2):163-70. Epub 2007 Mar 26.

Antimicrobial resistance and molecular epidemiology of vancomycin-resistant enterococci from North America and Europe: a report from the SENTRY antimicrobial surveillance program.

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JMI Laboratories, North Liberty, IA 52317, USA.


Increases in prevalence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) have been documented globally since its emergence in the 1980s. A SENTRY Antimicrobial Surveillance Program (2003) objective monitored VRE isolates with respect to antimicrobial susceptibility trends, geographic resistance variability, and clonal dissemination. In 2003, VRE isolates from North America (United States and Canada, n = 839, 26 sites) and Europe (n = 56, 10 sites) were susceptibility tested using Clinical and Laboratory Standards Institute (CLSI) reference methodologies. Based on resistance profiles, 155 isolates displayed similar multidrug-resistant (MDR) profiles and were temporally related; these were subsequently submitted for typing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE). Most of the submitted isolates were Enterococcus faecium (91.0%) and Enterococcus faecalis (7.8%). Among VRE, the VanA phenotype was more prevalent in North America (76%) than Europe (40%), and all isolates had elevated resistance rates to other antimicrobial classes including the following: 1) chloramphenicol resistance among E. faecalis being greater in North America than in Europe (28.6% versus 7.1%, respectively) but reversed among E. faecium (0.5% and 15.0%, the latter due to clonal occurrences); 2) ciprofloxacin resistance in North America >99% for both species and in Europe varying from 85.7% to 87.5%; 3) rare occurrences of linezolid resistance in North America (0.8% to 1.8%) due to G2576U ribosomal mutation; 4) higher quinupristin/dalfopristin resistance observed among European E. faecium strains (10.0% versus 0.6%); and 5) higher rifampin resistance rates among European E. faecalis (21.4% versus 5.4%). Thirty-five MDR epidemic clusters were identified by PFGE in 21 North American and 2 European medical centers including the following: 1) VanA (20 sites, 27 clonal occurrences) and VanB (1 site, 2 clonal occurrences); 2) elevated quinupristin/dalfopristin MIC results (not vatD/E, 3 sites); and 3) chloramphenicol resistance (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase-positive strains, 3 sites). The esp gene, part of the putative E. faecium pathogenicity island and a marker for the clonal complex-17 lineage, was detected in 76% of vancomycin-resistant E. faecium. Clonal spread appears to be a dominant factor of MDR VRE dissemination on both continents, and further monitoring is critical to assist in the control of these resistant pathogens.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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