Formally known as Streptococcus faecalis, Enterococcus faecalis is a bacterium that is normally found in human and animal intestines- it can also be found in the environment. Read on to find out more interesting facts about Enterococcus faecalis.
1. It is a type of enterococcus
Enterococcus faecalis is a gram positive bacterium belonging to the lactic acid bacteria group.
2. It can cause serious health problems
The bacteria can cause many serious health ailments, including urinary tract infections, endocarditis (an infection in the inner lining of the heart) and wound infections. Enterococcus faecalis frequently harbours in intravascular and urinary catheter devices, meaning hospital patients in particular are vulnerable to its effects. Typical symptoms of infection may include abdominal cramping, burning sensations during urination and vomiting.
3. It is more common than you think
Enterococcus faecalis is found in up to 90% of human intestine samples. It is also often present in the gastrointestinal tracts of animals.
4. Some strains are antibiotic-resistant
This bacterium is known to survive in both acidic and alkaline environment, resisting the effects of multiple antibiotics such as last-resort vancomycin. This means that any attempts to eradicate it from the human body can be extremely tricky. It can also survive long periods of nutritional deprivation and is known to form biofilms.
5. Its transmission can be prevented
Enterococcus faecalis is easily transferred from person to person via physical contact and through contact with contaminated surfaces. As a result, healthcare professionals regularly stress the importance of employing proper hand-washing techniques in the fight against its spread. Eating a healthy, fibre-rich diet is understood to help stabilise the naturally-occurring bacterial community (the so-called good bacteria) in our guts which has a protective effect for us against the ‘bad’ (disease-causing) members of that community, such as E. faecalis. When our gut microbes are balanced and healthy, there is less opportunity for the bad bacteria to cause infections.
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