Chapter 18 : Enterococcus

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This chapter focuses on the presence of virulence and antimicrobial resistance genes in enterococci of animal origin and the possible spread of resistance between the animal and human reservoir, probably through the food chain. Some species, such as Enterococcus gallinarum and E. casseliflavus, are motile. At least 23 distinct Enterococcus species are recognized and new species continue to be identified. The defined species have been separated into five groups on the basis of acid formation in mannitol and sorbose broths and hydrolysis of arginine. Identification of the different Enterococcus species can be done by conventional physiological tests, by commercial systems, or by molecular methods. The major natural habitat of organisms appears to be the gastrointestinal tract of animals and humans, where they make up a significant portion of the normal aerobic gut flora. Some Enterococcus species are host specific, while others are more broadly distributed. The emergence of antimicrobial resistance represents the greatest threat to the treatment of human enterococcal infections. The chapter also focuses on the antimicrobial resistance selected for animals that can be transferred to humans, causing treatment failures. Tetracycline resistance is probably the most common resistance phenotype in enterococci from food. Enterococci have an ability to become resistant to antimicrobials. The role of enterococci in disease raises valid concerns regarding their safety for use in foods or as probiotics. If Enterococcus strains are selected for use as starter or probiotic cultures, ideally such strains should harbor no virulence determinants and should be susceptible to clinically relevant antibiotics.

Citation: Simjee S, Jensen L, Donabedian S, Zervos M. 2006. Enterococcus, p 315-328. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch18
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Generic image for table
Table 1.

Phenotypic characteristics used for identification of Enterococcus species

Citation: Simjee S, Jensen L, Donabedian S, Zervos M. 2006. Enterococcus, p 315-328. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch18
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Table 2.

Function of the enterococcal virulence factors

Citation: Simjee S, Jensen L, Donabedian S, Zervos M. 2006. Enterococcus, p 315-328. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch18
Generic image for table
Table 3.

Antimicrobial resistance genes in enterococci of animal origin

Citation: Simjee S, Jensen L, Donabedian S, Zervos M. 2006. Enterococcus, p 315-328. In Aarestrup F (ed), Antimicrobial Resistance in Bacteria of Animal Origin. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817534.ch18

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