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Vancomycin-resistant enterococcal infections: epidemiology, clinical manifestations, and optimal management.

Since its discovery in England and France in 1986, vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus has increasingly become a major nosocomial pathogen worldwide. Enterococci are prolific colonizers, with tremendous genome plasticity and a propensity for persistence in hospital environments, allowing for increased transmission and the dissemination of resistance elements. Infections typically present in immunosuppressed patients who have received multiple courses of antibiotics in the past. Virulence is variable, and typical clinical manifestations include bacteremia, endocarditis, intra-abdominal and pelvic infections, urinary tract infections, skin and skin structure infections, and, rarely, central nervous system infections. As enterococci are common colonizers, careful consideration is needed before initiating targeted therapy, and source control is first priority. Current treatment options including linezolid, daptomycin, quinupristin/dalfopristin, and tigecycline have shown favorable activity against various vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus infections, but there is a lack of randomized controlled trials assessing their efficacy. Clearer distinctions in preferred therapies can be made based on adverse effects, drug interactions, and pharmacokinetic profiles. Although combination therapies and newer agents such as tedizolid, telavancin, dalbavancin, and oritavancin hold promise for the future treatment of vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus infections, further studies are needed to assess their possible clinical impact, especially in the treatment of serious infections.

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