Environmental dust from animal breeding facilities was never screened for the presence of enterococci, nor of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE), despite the possibility of being a vehicle of transmission of strains and antibiotic resistance genes between food-producing animals and man. Bio-security measures in pig facilities include disinfection with biocides to avoid the dissemination of opportunistic pathogenic bacteria, namely enterococci and in particular VRE. We thus undertook collection of enterococci and VRE in a representative number of breeding pig facilities in Portugal (n = 171) and analyzed their susceptibility to benzalkonium chloride (BC) and chlorhexidine (CHX). A prevalence of 15% of VRE was found, with 6% high-level resistance found, and MIC values for CHX and BC were similar to those commonly found among enterococcal isolates from related environments, 8 mu g/ml and 4 mu g/ml, respectively. Among the isolated high-level vancomycin resistant Enterococcus faecium carrying the vanA genotype, we found multilocus sequence types closely related to pig and human isolates from European countries and Brazil. These results strongly advise constant surveillance of this environment and its inclusion in future epidemiologic studies on VRE. (C) 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.