Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Photocomposite, Enterococcus faecium on the surface of the small intestine villi. Enterococcus faecium (also known as Streptococcus faecium), Gram-positive, vancomycin resistant (VRE), coccus prokaryote that grows in groups or chains. E. faecium is commonly found in the guts of humans and other animals. It does not normally cause disease, but can be an opportunistic pathogen when the immune system is impaired. It is an important nosocomial (hospital-acquired) pathogen. They are robust microbes able to tolerate relatively high salt and acid concentrations. The microbe can survive for long periods of time in soil, sewage, and inside hospitals on a variety of surfaces. E. faecium is known to have a resistance to several types of antibiotics including gentamicin, tetracycline, erythromycin, teicoplanin and penicillin. Magnification: x800 bacteria; x49 intestine when shortest axis printed at 25.
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