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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Drug-Resistant Superbugs, Multi-drug Resistant Organisms: MRSA, VRE, Clostridium difficile, and CRE. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Phenotypes

In regards to glycopeptide resistance, there are six phenotypes, three of which are more commonly occurring. The VanA phenotype has an inducible high level resistance to vancomycin as well as teicoplanin (encoded by the VanA gene). The VanB phenotype (encoded by two vanB genes) has moderate to high resistance to vancomycin only. The VanC phenotype (encoded by two vanC genes) demonstrates a non-inducible low level resistance to vancomycin.
Van A and Van B are the most clinically significant phenotypes and are usually seen among E. faecalis and E. faecium isolates. Van C is both intrinsic and characteristic in E. gallinarum and E. casseliflavus. Because they are intrinsic rather than acquired, they represent a different impact/significance for hospital epidemiology; definitive speciation can have significance for infection control purposes.
At the present time, both ampicillin and vancomycin resistance occur more frequently with E. faecium isolates than with E. faecalis. Most vancomycin-resistant E. faecium strains possess the vanA gene.