In 1899, Thiercelin described gram-positive coccoid bacteria isolated from the human intestine and introduced the name "enterocoque" [1]. However, in the beginning of the twentieth century the term Streptococcus was more commonly used. In 1937, Sherman developed a new scheme and classified the genus Streptococcus into four main groups: pyogenic, viridans and lactic streptococci and enterococci. Enterococci were separated from other Streptococcus species as they grow between 10°C and 45°C, in 6.5% NaCI, and at pH 9.6. Moreover, they are able to survive for 30 min. at 60°C and hydrolyze esculine into esculitine. All members of the genus Enterococcus react with the Lancefield group D antisera. Recently, DNA hybridization experiments have indicated that enterococci are distinct from streptococci, and subsequently, the genus Enterococcus was introduced in 1984. Biochemical classification divided the genus Enterococcus in 17 different species; Enterococcus faecium, Enterococcus faecafis, Enterococcus hirae, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus avium/ Enterococcus mundtii, Enterococcus casse/iflavus, Enterococcus moledoratus, Enterococcus pseudoavium, Enterococcus solitarus, Enterococcus raffinosus, Enterococcus cecorum, Enterococcus flavescens, Enterococcus columbae, Enterococcus dispar, Enterococcus sacchrolyticus.

bacteriology, glycopeptides, infectious diseases, resistance in enterococci, streptococcus
H.A. Verbrugh (Henri)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Abott, BaseClear, Bayer, Becton & Dickenson, Bio-Merieux, Merck Sharp & Dome, Oxoid, Pfizer, Pharmacia, Wyeth-LeDerle, Stichting Microbie!e Typering
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

van den Braak, N.P.W.C.J. (2001, November 21). Glycopeptide-Resistant Enterococci in The Netherlands: Surveillance and Genome Analysis. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from