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What Happened to Our Friendly Enterococci?

Enterococci had been generally regarded as benign commensals, a part of our healthy intestinal microbiota. They were even invited in, being used as probiotics. But then, in the late 1970s, the first multiple drug-resistant strains appeared, and vancomycin-resistant strains followed in 1981. In recent decades, they have taken center stage as one of the pathogens most commonly associated with nosocomial infections. Enterococcal infections are particularly difficult to manage now because these bugs have accumulated numerous virulence genes and antibiotic resistance factors. What happened?

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