Overview Of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci
Enterococcus is a bacterial germ that is usually in the female genital tract and intestines. This typically does not bring up issues, but it can start infection in the bloodstream, a skin injury, or in the urinary tract. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are enterococci germs that grow resistant to vancomycin.
Vancomycin is an antibiotic to treat this bacterial infection. An antibiotic eliminates bacteria. This makes it difficult to treat VRE because there are not many antibiotics that can combat this bacteria, once it becomes resistant to vancomycin.
Commonly Associated With
Gastroenteritis – VRE; Hospital-acquired infection – VRE; Colitis – VRE’ Super-bug VRE
Who Is Most At Risk?
VRE infections are more common in people who:
- Are staying in a hospital and are on antibiotics for prolonged times
- Are aging people and have:
- Were in intensive care units (ICUs)
- Past vancomycin treatment or other antibiotics for a long time
- Lasting illnesses or compromised immune systems
- Stayed in transplant or cancer units
- Had catheters to drain urine or intravenous (IV) catheters that stay in for a long time
- Had major surgery
Preventing The Spread Of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci In The Hospital
VRE bacteria can spread through people and by physically touching something with VRE bacteria. That is why cleaning your hands is the best way to stop the spread of VRE.
Health care providers and hospital staff need to wash their hands with water and soap, or clean their hands with hand sanitizer that has alcohol, when caring for an individual patient.
Similarly, if a patient moves throughout the hospital or a room, they must wash their hands. Also, visiting guests should wash their hands to stop bacteria from spreading.
IV tubing and Urinary catheters are also replaced regularly to limit VRE infections.
VRE infected patients can stay in either a single room or share a semi-isolated room with someone else infected with VRE. This helps stop the spread of the bacteria throughout the hospital.
Staff and providers may need to:
- Wear effective protection gear, like gloves and gowns, when going into a patient’s room. Staff should also wear a mask if body fluid may be open in the room.
Treating Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci Infections
Lab tests can decide if other antibiotics can be used to treat vancomycin, which is fairly common.
Also, a patients without infection symptoms and who has the enterococcus germ do not need treatment.