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Antibiotic and Disinfectant Susceptibility Profiles of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) Isolated from Community Wastewater in Texas


Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) from human wastewater effluents in a nonclinical semiclosed agri-food system in Texas were characterized for susceptibility to antibiotics and disinfectants. The 50 VRE were resistant to eight fluoroquinolones and 10 of 17 antimicrobials typically active against Gram-positive organisms. The VRE were susceptible to quinupristin/dalfopristin and linezolid. Lack of the insertion element IS1251 correlated with VRE susceptibility to streptomycin and gentamicin at p < 0.0001 and p = 0.033, respectively. An association was observed between pulsed-field gel electrophoresis genotypes Ic and II and susceptibility to streptomycin at p = 0.0006. VRE susceptibility for nine disinfectants and five disinfectant components is shown. Ninety-two percent of the isolates had a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) for triclosan ≥2 ppm. Triclosan MICs for many of the VRE were well over expected product application levels. No association was observed between antibiotic resistance and disinfectant susceptibility in these VRE. Enterococci multiply-resistant to vancomycin and aminoglycosides were found in a non-hospital environment where one would not expect to find them.

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We thank Albert Blanks, Jackie Kotzur, and M. Reiley Street for technical support. The samples were provided through USDA-ARS Cooperative Agreement No. 58-6202-2-022 and USDA-CSREES-NRICGP section 32.1 grant No. 2003-35212-13298. Mention of trade names, proprietary products, or specific equipment is solely for the purpose of providing specific information and does not constitute a guarantee, warranty or endorsement by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and does not imply its approval to the exclusion of other products that may be suitable.

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Correspondence to Ross C. Beier.

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Beier, R.C., Duke, S.E., Ziprin, R.L. et al. Antibiotic and Disinfectant Susceptibility Profiles of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) Isolated from Community Wastewater in Texas. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 80, 188–194 (2008).

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  • Antibiotics
  • Disinfectants
  • Enterococcus faecium
  • Susceptibility