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 common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It is very dangerous to those who are critically ill.
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Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection is common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It is particularly dangerous to those who are critically ill. If you think you have this condition, tell your doctor right away.
A number of species cause VRE infection, but the most common are:
These factors increase your chance of developing VRE:
Symptoms depend on where the infection is found.
For example, if VRE causes a urinary tract infection , you may have:
VRE can cause the following:
Each infection has its own symptoms. Your doctor will discuss these symptoms with you.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. A lab test is done to diagnose VRE and to rule out other conditions.
Talk with your doctor about the best plan for you. Treatment options include the following:
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 is based on the kind of infection and how severe it is. Common antibiotics used to treat VRE include:
If the infection is in your bladder, you may have a catheter placed to drain urine. Your doctor may want to have the catheter in for the shortest time possible to decrease 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
Antimicrobial (drug) resistance: vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/antimicrobialResistance/Examples/vre/prevention.htm . Accessed August 11, 2008.
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).
Information for the public about VRE. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_VRE_publicFAQ.html. . Updated April 2008. Accessed August 11, 2008.
Multidrug-resistant organisms in non-hospital healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dhqp/ar_multidrugFAQ.html . Published December 2000. Accessed August 11, 2008.
Task Force of Antimicrobial Resistance (TFAR). Guidelines for the prevention and control of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) in long-term care facilities. South Dakota Department of Health website. Available at: http://doh.sd.gov/PDF/VRE.pdf . Accessed August 11, 2008.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php . Updated June 2008. Accessed August 11, 2008.
Last reviewed March 2013 by Daus Mahnke, 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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