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J Clin Microbiol. 1998 Aug;36(8):2187-90.

Emergence of vancomycin-resistant enterococci in Australia: phenotypic and genotypic characteristics of isolates.

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National Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance Program, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide, Australia.


Enterococci with resistance to glycopeptides have recently emerged in Australia. We developed multiplex PCR assays for vanA, vanB, vanC1, and vanC2 or vanC3 in order to examine the genetic basis for vancomycin resistance in Australian isolates of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium and E. faecalis (VRE). The predominant genotype from human clinical E. faecium isolates was vanB. The PCR van genotype was consistent with the resistance phenotype in all but six cases. One vanA E. faecalis isolate had a VanB phenotype, one vanB E. faecium isolate had a VanA phenotype, and four E. faecalis isolates were consistently negative for vanA, vanB, vanC1, and vanC2 or vanC3, even though they exhibited a VanB phenotype. These four isolates were subsequently examined for the presence of vanD by published methods and were found to be negative. No vancomycin-susceptible strains produced a PCR product. On the basis of our findings the epidemiology of VRE in Australia appears to be different from that in either the United States or Europe. Our multiplex PCR assays gave a rapid and accurate method for determining the genotype and confirming the identification of glycopeptide-resistant enterococci. Rapid and accurate methods are essential, because laboratory-based surveillance is critical in programs for the detection, control, and prevention of the transmission of glycopeptide-resistant enterococci.

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