Author(s): Mundy LM, Sahm DF, Gilmore M
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Abstract Enterococci have become a vexing problem in clinical medicine because of their ability to infect patients who are typically receiving antibiotic therapy for unrelated underlying illness. Moreover, the infections have become extremely difficult to manage because of the accumulation of antibiotic resistances among enterococci. The ability of enterococci to cause disease is an intrinsic property of the organism or possibly subpopulations within enterococcal species. The probability of an infection's becoming established, however, is almost certainly in part a function of the enterococcal burden. By altering endogenous bacterial flora, antibiotic therapy promotes increased colonization by antibiotic-resistant organisms. Therefore, antibiotic resistance and intrinsic virulence both contribute to disease, but in separate and complementary ways. We review the virulence of enterococci, as distinct from the acquisition of antimicrobial resistance genes, and identify current gaps in our understanding of enterococcal virulence and the basis for disease.
This article was published in Clin Microbiol Rev
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology