Enterococci are a type of bacteria that live in your GI tract. There are at least 18 different species of these bacteria.
Enterococcus faecalis (E. faecalis) is one of the most common species. These bacteria also live in the mouth and vagina. They are very resilient, so they can survive in hot, salty, or acidic environments.
E. faecalis normally lives harmlessly in your intestines. However, if it spreads to other parts of your body it can cause a more serious infection. The bacteria can get into your blood, urine, or a wound during surgery. From there, it can spread to different sites causing more serious infections, including sepsis, endocarditis, and meningitis.
E. faecalis bacteria don’t usually cause problems in healthy people. But people with underlying health conditions or a weakened immune system are more likely to get sick. These infections often spread in hospitals. In recent years, there’s been an increase in drug-resistant E. faecalis strains. Today, many antibiotics don’t work against infections caused by these bacteria.