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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2019

High incidence of virulence determinants, aminoglycoside and vancomycin resistance in enterococci isolated from hospitalized patients in Northwest Iran

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2019
Fakhri Haghi, Vahid Lohrasbi, Habib Zeighami
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Multidrug resistant (MDR) enterococci are important nosocomial pathogens causing serious problem in hospitalized patients. The aim of present study was to investigate the frequency of high-level aminoglycoside-resistant and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) and virulence encoding genes in enterococci isolated from hospitalized patients.


A total of 100 enterococci isolated from urine samples of hospitalized patients with symptomatic urinary tract infections were investigated for antimicrobial susceptibility, the frequency of aminoglycoside and vancomycin resistance genes (including aac (6′)-Ie-aph (2“)-Ia, aph (3’)-IIIa, ant (4’)-Ia, aph (2”)-Ic, aph (2“)-Ib, aph (2”)-Id, ant (3″)-III, ant (6′)-Ia, vanA, vanB and vanC) and virulence encoding genes (including gelE, PAI, esp, ace, cyl, hyl and sprE).


Enterococcus faecalis species was identified as predominant enterococci (69%), followed by “other” Enterococcus species (21%) and E. faecium (10%). Ninety three percent of isolates were resistant to one or more antimicrobial agents, with the most frequent resistance found against tetracycline (86%), ciprofloxacin (73%) and quinupristin-dalfopristin (53%). Gentamicin and streptomycin resistance were detected in 50 and 34% of isolates, respectively. The most prevalent aminoglycoside resistance genes were ant (3″)-III (78%) and aph (3′)-IIIa (67%). Vancomycin resistance was detected in 21% of isolates. All E. faecium isolates carried vanA gene, whereas, the vanB gene was not detected in Enterococcus species. The most frequent virulence gene was ace (88.6%), followed by esp (67.1%), PAI (45.5%) and sprE (41.7%).


Our study revealed the high frequency of gentamycin resistance and VRE in E. faecium isolates, with a high prevalence and heterogeneity of virulence and resistance genes. Due to high frequency of MDR enterococci, it seems that the appropriate surveillance and control measures are essential to prevent the emergence and transmission of these isolates in hospitals.
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