What is VRE?
Enterococci are bacteria normally found in a person’s bowel, intestine and digestive tract. They are also often found in the environment. These bacteria can cause many different types of infections that need to be treated with antibiotics. The most common antibiotic used to treat enterococci is called vancomycin.
Sometimes enterococci can become resistant to the antibiotics used to kill them. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci are enterococci bacteria resistant to the drug vancomycin.
These resistant bacteria can cause serious infections that may be difficult or impossible to treat. Most VRE infections occur in hospitals.
People with weak immune systems, who have been treated with antibiotics for long periods of time, who have had abdomen or chest surgery and people with medical devices in their bodies, such as urinary catheters or IVs, are all at higher risk of getting VRE.
What are the symptoms of VRE?
The bacteria can cause many different symptoms, depending on the location of the infection.
How is VRE spread?
The bacteria are usually spread from person to person on the hands of health care workers. The bacteria survives for weeks or months on hard surfaces and can be spread like this as well.
How is VRE treated?
Treatment of VRE is difficult because the bacteria are resistant to most antibiotics. There are currently very few antibiotics that can be used to treat VRE infections.
How is VRE prevented?
Use antibiotics appropriately.Frequent and unnecessary use of antibiotics cause bacteria to build resistance to antibiotics.
If you have VRE it is important to let health care providers know. They will take special precautions to help prevent the spread of VRE to others.
Simple infection prevention and control practices can reduce the spread of infection.