Enterococci are Gram-positive facultative anaerobic cocci in short and medium chains, first discovered in 1899 in the human gastrointestinal tract. They were recognized as a separate genus from streptococci by DNA hybridization and 16S rRNA sequencing in 1984. They are the first of the ESKAPE organisms (Enterococci spp., Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter spp.) highlighted by the WHO as rising causes of nosocomial and antibiotic-resistant infections in the last few decades threatening public health.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) were first reported in 1933 in animals owing to the use of Avoparcin, which was a vancomycin analog used as an animal food additive. However, they were reported for the first time in humans in England in 1988, several years later.
Said, Mina S.; Tirthani, Ekta; and Lesho, Emil, "Enterococcus Infections" (2021). Rochester Regional Health authored publications and proceedings. 193.