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Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)


 What is vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE)?
 What is the cause?
 What are the symptoms?
 How is it diagnosed?
 How is it treated?
 How can I take care of myself?
 How can I help prevent the spread of VRE?

What is vancomycin-resistant enterococcus (VRE)?

Enterococcus is a type of bacteria. It commonly lives in the intestines and in the female genital organs. Most of the time it does not cause infections. When it does cause an infection, Vancomycin is an antibiotic often used to treat it. However, some enterococcus bacteria can change and become resistant to vancomycin. This means the antibiotic is not able to kill the bacteria and cure the infection. These bacteria are called vancomycin-resistant enterococcus, or VRE.

What is the cause?

You are more likely to have a VRE infection if:

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of VRE infection depend on where the infection is. You might have the infection in your urinary tract, skin, bowel, or blood.

Symptoms may include:

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your symptoms and medical history and examine you. You will have urine and blood tests to look for signs of infection. A sample of blood or fluid from a wound or IV site may be sent to the lab and tested. If you have an infection, it may take several days to find out what kind of germ is causing it. Knowing what germ is causing the infection helps your provider choose the right medicine to treat it.

How is it treated?

VRE is treated with antibiotics that lab tests show will work against the bacteria.

If the IV line or a catheter you have been using is infected, it will be removed.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment prescribed by your healthcare provider.

How can I help prevent the spread of VRE?

Make sure that all healthcare providers caring for you clean their hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub before and after caring for you. If you do not see them clean their hands, ask them to do so.

Also remind everyone who enters your hospital room, whether family or friends, to clean their hands. This is especially important before and after touching part of your body or anything that has been in contact with you. The VRE can live on surfaces such as bedrails for hours to days.

When you go home from the hospital, some things you and your family and friends can do to prevent the spread of VRE are:

healthinformatics info

References

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) – Overview. (2013). WebMD. Retrieved 9/2014 from http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/vancomycin-resistant-enterococci-vre-overview.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) in Healthcare Settings. US Dept of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11/2010. Accessed 09/30/2013 from http://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/vre/vre.html.

"Multidrug-Resistant Organisms in Non-Hospital Healthcare Settings- FAQ | CDC Infection Control in Healthcare." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 12 Mar. 2010. Web. 8 Aug. 2010. .

“Diseases and Organisms in Healthcare Settings.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 11/24/10. Accessed 8/2011 from http://www.cdc.gov/HAI/organisms/organisms.html#v1.



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Last Modified: 2014-09-24

Last Reviewed: 2014-09-24

Website Updated: August 2015

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Published by RelayHealth. © 2014 RelayHealth and/or one of its affiliates. All Rights Reserved.

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.


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