Bacteria causing infections in hospitalized patients are increasingly antibiotic resistant. Classical infection control practices are only partially effective at preventing spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria within hospitals. Because the density of intestinal colonization by the highly antibiotic-resistant bacterium vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) can exceed 10(9) organisms per gram of feces, even optimally implemented hygiene protocols often fail. Decreasing the density of intestinal colonization, therefore, represents an important approach to limit VRE transmission. We demonstrate that reintroduction of a diverse intestinal microbiota to densely VRE-colonized mice eliminates VRE from the intestinal tract. While oxygen-tolerant members of the microbiota are ineffective at eliminating VRE, administration of obligate anaerobic commensal bacteria to mice results in a billionfold reduction in the density of intestinal VRE colonization. 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis of intestinal bacterial populations isolated from mice that cleared VRE following microbiota reconstitution revealed that recolonization with a microbiota that contains Barnesiella correlates with VRE elimination. Characterization of the fecal microbiota of patients undergoing allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation demonstrated that intestinal colonization with Barnesiella confers resistance to intestinal domination and bloodstream infection with VRE. Our studies indicate that obligate anaerobic bacteria belonging to the Barnesiella genus enable clearance of intestinal VRE colonization and may provide novel approaches to prevent the spread of highly antibiotic-resistant bacteria.