Enterococcus

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Enterococcus
Enterococcus sp. infection in lung tissue
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Bacteria
Division: Firmicutes
Class: Bacilli
Order: Lactobacillales
Family: Enterococcaceae
Genus: Enterococcus

Enterococcus is a genus of lactic acid bacteria of the phylum Firmicutes.

Enterococci are Gram-positive cocci that often occur in pairs or short chains. They look like streptococci.[1] Two species are regular gut flora organisms in the intestines of humans: E. faecalis (90-95%) and E. faecium (5-10%).

Physiology and classification[change | change source]

Enterococci are "facultative anaerobic organisms". This means they can live in both oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor environments.[2]

Members of the genus Enterococcus were classified as Group D Streptococcus until 1984. Genomic DNA analysis showed they were a separate genus.[3]

Pathology[change | change source]

Important infections caused by Enterococcus include urinary tract infections, bacterial endocarditis, diverticulitis, and meningitis.

Sensitive strains of these bacteria can be treated with ampicillin, penicillin and vancomycin.[4] Urinary tract infections can be treated by antibiotics, but many virulent strains of Enterococcus are resistant. From a medical standpoint, an important feature of this genus is the high level of intrinsic antibiotic resistance. This rules out some important antibiotics.[5]

References[change | change source]

  1. Gilmore M.S. et al, ed. (2002). The Enterococci: pathogenesis, molecular biology, and antibiotic resistance. Washington, D.C.: ASM Press. ISBN 978-1-55581-234-8 .
  2. Fischetti V.A. et al, ed. (2000). Gram-positive pathogens. ASM Press. ISBN 1-55581-166-3 .
  3. Schleifer KH; Kilpper-Balz R (1984). "Transfer of Streptococcus faecalis and Streptococcus faecium to the genus Enterococcus nom. rev. as Enterococcus faecalis comb. nov. and Enterococcus faecium comb. nov.". Int. J. Sys. Bacteriol. 34: 31–34. doi:10.1099/00207713-34-1-31 .
  4. Pelletier LL Jr. (1996). Microbiology of the circulatory system. in: Baron S et al (eds) Baron's Medical Microbiology. (4th ed.). Univ of Texas Medical Branch. ISBN 0-9631172-1-1 . http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/bv.fcgi?rid=mmed.section.5077.
  5. Ryan K.J. & Ray C.G. (eds) 2004. Sherris medical microbiology. 4th ed, McGraw Hill, 294–5. ISBN 0-8385-8529-9