Nationales Referenzzentrum für Staphylokokken und Enterokokken, Robert Koch-Institut, Burgstr. 37, 38855, Wernigerode, Deutschland, email@example.com.
Enterococci (mainly E. faecalis, E. faecium) are important nosocomial pathogens predominantly affecting older and/or immunocompromised patients. The bacteria possess a broad spectrum of intrinsic and acquired antibiotic resistance properties. Among these, the transferrable glycopeptide resistance of the vanA and vanB genotypes in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE; reservoir: E. faecium) as well as resistance to last resort antibiotics (e.g. linezolid and tigecycline) are of special concern. Enterococci (including VRE) are easily transferred in hospitals; however, colonizations are far more frequent than infections. Resistance frequencies for vancomycin in clinical E. faecium isolates have remained at a relatively constant level of 8-15% (but with local or regional variations) in recent years whereas frequencies for teicoplanin resistance have shown a slight decrease. Glycopeptide resistance trends correlate with a spread of hospital-associated E. faecium strains carrying the vanA and, with rising frequency in recent years, the vanB gene cluster, the latter being associated with teicoplanin susceptibility. This increased occurrence of vanB-positive E. faecium strains may be caused by an increased use of antibiotics selecting enterococci and VRE as well as due to methodological reasons (e.g. reduced EUCAST MIC-breakpoints for glycopeptides; increased use and sensitive performance of chromogenic VRE agars, increased use of molecular diagnostic assays).