Enterococcus faecium is emerging as a major cause of drug-resistant infections in hospitalised patients globally. Hospital-adapted clones of this bacterial species frequently colonise patients in the gastrointestinal tract after hospital admission, and have a propensity to become multi-drug resistant. Glycopeptide resistance resulting in vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is now a major public health issue globally. Working closely with the Stinear Laboratory and the Austin Hospital Infectious Diseases Department our research efforts have focussed on understanding the genomic characteristics of E. faecium, and then using this information to better understand how and why VRE colonisation and infection is continuing to increase in the hospital environment. These studies have uncovered the frequent de novo generation of VRE in the human intestine during hospital admission, a finding with significant implications for the infection control management of colonised patients.
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