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

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Enterococci are catalase-negative gram-positive cocci occurring singly, in pairs, or in chains; cells can be ovoid to coccobacillary. There are over twenty species in the genus, categorized within five major groups. Enterococcus faecalis is the most frequently isolated species; Enterococcus faecium, although less frequently encountered, is a significant pathogen.

The Enterococci are widespread in nature; in humans they primarily colonize the gastrointestinal tract but are also found in the genitourinary tract. Enterococci are frequently encountered in urinary tract infections; they are also isolated from wound infections and blood cultures. They are also an important cause of endocarditis.