Symptoms of Enterococcus faecalis

The Enterococcus faecalis is a type of bacteria known as anaerobic cocci. Save Jupiterimages / / Getty Images

The Enterococcus faecalis is a type of anaerobic bacteria known as coconuts, which can occur singly, in pairs or small chains. It is Gram positive biochemical structure, a ranking determined by staining the bacteria and after exposure to a natural chemical removal (Gram positive bacteria can retain the stain). The Enterococcus faecalis has gained notoriety for being one of the leading causes of nosocomial infections (infections acquired in the hospital), characterized by fever and confusion. The most common types are urinary tract infections, which may be accompanied by terrible symptoms, such as painful urination and blood in the urine.


The Enterococcus faecalis normally lives in the gastrointestinal tract of humans. However, trauma, which often is caused by insertion and removal of catheters, can cause the bacteria enter the bloodstream resulting in infections. While the Enterococcus faecalis is often found in food, however, there must be a proven link between the bacteria and food poisoning correlation. The Enterococcus faecalis can not be transmitted person to person.

Nosocomial infections

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, Enterococcus faecalis is the third most common organism responsible for nosocomial infections and causes 10 percent of nosocomial infections worldwide. The first sign of a nosocomial infection is often fever. Other symptoms may include low blood pressure, low urine output, high white cell count in the blood, rapid breathing, and confusion. Infection of a specific injury or entry of a catheter may swell and turn red be touch sensitive.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections, or UTI (by its acronym), are the most commonly acquired nosocomial infections. According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, 16 percent of urinary tract infections are caused by Enterococcus faecalis. Symptoms include fever, dark urine, strong smelling urine, pain or tenderness over the pubic bone, burning sensation that accompanies urination, blood in the urine, irritability, lack of appetite, loss of bladder control, a higher frequency urination, nausea and vomiting.


The Enterococcus faecalis is a very resistant bacteria. According to the Agency's Public Health Canada, it can survive for long periods of time in various environmental surfaces, including 90 days in the laundry, 77 days ashore, 180 days in the cheese, and for several years in a culture of negative 70 degrees Celsius.


In addition to being adaptable, the Enterococcus faecalis is extremely durable. The bacterium is able to resist most antibiotics due to the fluidity of their genetic makeup. It has the unique ability to exchange DNA in order to improve both infectious power as their resistance to antibiotics.


Infections caused by Enterococcus faecalis can be treated with ampicillin or penicillin, but only if combined with aminoglycoside.