Hematogenous enterococcal vertebral osteomyelitis: Report of 2 cases and review of the literature

Philip E. Tarr*, George Sakoulas, Anuradha Ganesan, Margo A. Smith, Daniel R. Lucey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Enterococci are a major cause of bacteraemia and endocarditis and are increasingly being implicated in bone and joint infections. Hematogenous enterococcal vertebral osteomyelitis, however, has been only rarely reported. Here we present the first 2 patients from the United States and review the literature on 10 additional cases that have been published since 1967. The clinical presentation of enterococcal vertebral osteomyelitis was similar to cases due to other bacteria. Enterococcus faecalis caused most cases, consistent with its presumably increased virulence. All enterococcal cases in the literature were reported from Europe, which may be due to epidemiological differences related to antibiotic utilization and infection control practices between the US and Europe. Nine of all 12 cases were reported since 1995, which may be consistent with the increase in occurrence of enterococcal infections in general, in association with increasing patient comorbidities, invasive procedures, and indwelling vascular devices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-362
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infection
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2004


  • Enterococcus
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Epidural abscess
  • Hematogenous
  • Spondylodiscitis
  • Vertebral osteomyelitis


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