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A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital

Doherty Applied Microbial Genomics | Research | Antimicrobial Resistance

Hospital and Healthcare Pathogens (Past Projects)

Characterisation of MLST non-typeable Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus faecium

Project Summary

Enterococcus faecium is an important nosocomial pathogen that has a high propensity for horizontal gene transfer, which has resulted in the emergence of multiply antibiotic resistant strains. The most notorious of these, vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE), was recently classified as a “serious threat” to human health by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

E. faecium is highly transmissible and causes a range of infections that are typically difficult to treat. As a consequence, most hospitals have implemented infection control measures designed to limit the spread of VRE.  An important component of infection control involves typing clinical and screening isolates, since this assists infection control teams to identify potential VRE outbreaks within or between hospitals.

Multi Locus Sequence Typing (MLST) is most commonly used to type VRE. During routine VRE surveillance activities performed at the MDU PHL a number of VRE isolates that could not be typed by MLST were collected from a number of different hospitals in several different Australian health jurisdictions.

The aims of this project were to (1) characterise these MLST non-typeable VRE isolates at the genomic level (2) to determine the phylogenetic population structure of this strains and (3) determine whether inter and intra hospital transfer of these isolates was occurring.

Project Partners

Internal Doherty Applied Microbial Genomics project


Emergence of endemic MLST non-typeable vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium

Carter GP, Buultjens AH, Ballard SA, Baines SL, Tomita T, Strachan J, Johnson PD, Ferguson JK, Seemann T, Stinear TP, Howden BP. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2016 Aug 15. pii: dkw314

Evolutionary origins of the emergent ST796 clone of vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium

Buultjens AH, Lam MM, Ballard S, Monk IR, Mahony AA, Grabsch EA, Grayson ML, Pang S, Coombs GW, Robinson JO, Seemann T, Johnson PD, Howden BP, Stinear TP. PeerJ. 2017;5:e2916. doi: 10.7717/peerj.2916

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