||Description: Enterococcus (formerly known as Streptococcus) is a Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic, coccoid prokaryote (bacterium) that is normal part of the intestinal flora (commensal) of humans and animals. Enterococcus is a genus of lactic acid bacteria of the phylum Firmicutes. The genus Enterococcus includes more than 17 species, but only a few cause clinical infections (nosocomial) in humans. Enterococcus species are important pathogens responsible for serious infections. They can be opportunistic pathogens and may cause various types of infections when the immune system is impaired. They are important nosocomial pathogens (infects hospital patients) and have recently been referred to as a 'supergerm' or 'superbug' due to their resistance to antibiotics. Infectious strains of Enterococcus that are resistant to vancomycin (vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus, or VRE) have emerged in nosocomial infections of hospitalized patients, especially in the US. They are robust microbes able to tolerate relatively high salt and acid concentrations. They also seem to be able to withstand low levels of detergents, explaining why inadequate cleaning procedures can promote Enterococcus infections. The microbe can survive for long periods of time in soil, sewage, and inside hospitals on a variety of surfaces. Clinical nosocomial infections include urinary tract infections, bacteremia, bacterial endocarditis, diverticulitis, meningitis, blood infections, oral cavity infections and skin / wound infections. Enterococci have both an intrinsic and acquired resistance to antibiotics, making them important nosocomial pathogens. Enterococcus faecalis and Enterococcus faecium are the most prevalent species cultured from humans, accounting for more than 90% of clinical isolates. Other enterococcal species known to cause human infection include: Enterococcus avium, Enterococcus gallinarum, Enterococcus casseliflavus, Enterococcus durans, Enterococcus raffinosus and Enterococcus mundtii.