Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus

What is VRE?

Enterococci are bacteria that are normally present in the human intestines and in the female genital tract and are often found in the environment. These bacteria can sometimes cause infections. Vancomycin is an antibiotic that is often used to treat infections caused by enterococci. In some instances, enterococci have become resistant to this drug and thus are called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE).

What causes VRE?

Enterococci bacteria in lower intestine and/or possibly other areas (e.g., urine, blood, skin) may cause an infection and resist Vancomycin antibiotic. Risk factors for VRE acquisition include severity of underlying illness, presence of invasive devices, prior colonization with VRE, antibiotic use and length of hospital stay.

How does VRE spread?

The spread of VRE occurs through contact. VRE can survive for hours on hands and can survive for weeks on inanimate objects such as toilet seats, taps, door handles, bedrails, furniture and bedpans. VRE is easy to kill with the proper use of disinfectants and good hand hygiene.

What precautions are taken to prevent the spread of VRE?

Special precautions are taken to stop VRE from spreading to other patients in the Hospital. These precautions include:

• Single room accommodation

• A long-sleeved gown and gloves must be worn by everyone who cares for the patient

• A sign is placed at the patient’s door to remind all who enter about the precautions

• The room and the equipment used in the room are cleaned and disinfected regularly

• Everyone who leaves the patient’s room must clean their hands well

• The patient must clean his or her hands before leaving the room

The patient’s family and visitors should not assist other patients with their personal care, as this may cause the germ to spread. They are also required to wear a gown and gloves while in the patient’s room. Before leaving the room, visitors must remove the gown and gloves and dispose of them in the garbage container and linen hamper. They must then clean their hands.

Hand hygiene is everyone’s responsibility Good hand washing by everyone (healthcare staff, physicians, patients and visitors) is the single-most effective way to prevent the spread of infectious diseases like MRSA and VRE. 

HHHS Commitment

All staff and the Infection Control Dep't of HHHS is committed to the safety of our patients. Good Hand Hygiene practices are an essential part of our day to day routine, and we look for continuous improvement in this endeavour.


Statistics of VRE at the Haliburton Highlands Health Services:

Counts between 1 - 4 will be posted as < 5, as specified by the MOHLTC reporting guidelines.

VRE rate at HHHS is 1/1000 patient days.

 Apr 2017- Jun 2017 
 Jul 2017 - Sept 2017 
 Oct 2017 - Dec 2017 
 Jan 2018 - Mar 2018