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.
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Factors that increase your chance of VRE include:
Symptoms depend on where the infection is found. VRE can cause the following:
Each infection has its own symptoms.
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.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
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.
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.
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.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
National Institutes of Health
Public Health Agency of Canada
Huycke MM, Sahm DF, Gilmore MS. Multiple-drug resistant enterococci: the nature of the problem and an agenda for the future. Emerg Infect Diseases. 1998 April-June;4(2).
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.
Last reviewed June 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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