The genetic background for streptogramin resistance was examined in Enterococcus faecium isolated from pigs (n = 55) and broilers (n = 207) in 1997 in Denmark. Fifty-one percent and 67%, respectively, of the isolates were resistant to streptogramins. Among streptogramin-resistant E. faecium (SREF), the genetic background for streptogramin A resistance could be determined in 96% of the isolates from broilers, compared with 14% among SREF from pigs. For broiler isolates 89% of SREF contained the vat(E) gene and 10% the vat(D) gene. Three of these isolates contained both resistance genes. Among SREF from pigs two isolates contained the vat(E) gene and two others the vat(D) gene. The genetic background for streptogramin B was most often identified as the erm(B) gene encoding macrolide, lincosamide, and streptogramin B (MLSB) resistance. Among SREF, 84% and 86% of isolates from broilers and pigs, respectively, contained the erm(B). In SREF from broilers, the erm(B) gene was physically linked to the vat(E) gene in 62% of the vat(E)-positive isolates and 79% of the isolates containing vat(D). erm(A) was detected in two SREF of broiler origin. Both isolates also contained the erm(B) gene. No SREF contained the vgb(A) gene encoding streptogramin B resistance. On the basis of genetic characterization, streptogramin-resistant isolates from broiler were divided into subgroups, according to the presence of the streptogramin A genes, to determine possible co-resistance to antimicrobials, especially glycopeptides. Twenty-five percent of the SREF from broilers were glycopeptide resistant (MIC > 16 mug/ml). None of the isolates containing the streptogramin A gene vat(D) was resistant to glycopeptide, whereas isolates containing the vat(E) gene had a lower prevalence to glycopeptide resistance than the streptogramin-sensitive isolates.