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Biology LibreTexts Enterococcus

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    Scanning electron micrograph of Enterococcs. (2019; CDC;


    •  Enterococci are Gram-positive cocci that grow in pairs or short chains
    • No capsule
    • Catalase negative
    • Gamma-hemolytic
    • Facultative anaerobe
    • Can be differentiated from Streptococcus by growth in 6.5% salt
    • Clinically relevant species are E. faecium and E. faecalis
    Figure \(\PageIndex{1}\): Enterococcus is gamma-hemolytic. It cannot degrade blood in blood agar. (Rebecca Buxton. 2005.


    • Normal gut flora


    • Introduced into other areas of the body (lungs, urinary tract, bloodstream, etc.) through bad hygiene


    • Cause about 10% of nosocomial infections
    • Typically affect older adults, immunocompromised, and hospitalized

    Clinical Disease

    • Can cause a variety of infections including:
      • urinary tract infection
      • bacteremia (bacteria in the blood)
      • endocarditis
      • wound infections
    • Treatment can be difficult due to prevalence of highly antibiotic-resistant strains  such as vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE)
      • resistance genes often found on plasmids
      • considered serious threat by the CDC
    • About 10% fatal
    •  It is imperative that health care workers take precautions when caring for patients such as hand washing, wearing gloves, proper antisepsis and cleansing of patient wounds, and good aseptic technique when inserting in-dwelling devices.

    Primary Virulence Factors

    • Opportunistic pathogen
    • No notable virulence factors other than the ability to grow in the human body

    Additional Information: CDC fact sheet

   Enterococcus is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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