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Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci Infection

(VRE; Multiply-Resistant Enterococci)

Definition

Enterococci are bacteria that commonly live in:
In some cases, it can cause an infection. When this happens, the antibiotic vancomycin may be given to cure the infection.
However, some types of the bacteria are resistant to vancomycin. When the bacteria are resistant, the infection is not cured. This is called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection. It is more common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It can be very dangerous to those who are critically ill.
The Intestines
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Causes

VRE is caused by specific bacteria.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of VRE include:

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on where the infection is found. VRE can cause the following:
Each infection has its own symptoms.

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A lab test is done to find which bacteria is causing the infection and see what antibiotics can kill the bacteria.

Treatment

Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:

Antibiotics

VRE can be treated with other types of antibiotics. Tests can be done to find out which ones will work. The type that is chosen will also be based on the kind of infection and how severe it is.

Catheter Removal

If the infection is in your bladder and you have a urinary catheter in place, you may have the catheter removed as soon as it is possible. This decreases the risk of further infection.

Prevention

To help reduce your chance of getting VRE, take the following steps:
In some hospitals, screening tests are done for patients at high-risk for VRE.

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention http://www.cdc.gov

National Institutes of Health http://www.nih.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

Public Health Agency of Canada http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca

References

Huycke MM, Sahm DF, et al. Multiple-drug resistant enterococci: the nature of the problem and an agenda for the future. Emerg Infect Diseases. 1998;4(2):239-249.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated March 10, 2014. Accessed June 19, 2014.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/antimicrobialResistance/Examples/vre/Pages/default.aspx. Updated March 8, 2012. Accessed June 19, 2014.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/vre/vre.html. Updated May 10, 2011. Accessed June 19, 2014.

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