Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci Infection

Overview

Definition

Enterococci is bacteria that can cause infection. Vancomycin is an antibiotic used to treat this infection. It does not work on some types of the bacteria. This is called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection.

The Intestines
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Causes

The bacteria spreads from people or objects that carry it. This can cause the infection.

A VRE infection is one that does not get better when a person takes vancomycin.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk are:

  • Being treated with vancomycin or another antibiotic for a long time
  • Recent hospital or care center stay
  • Recent surgery or a device inserted
  • Having a weakened immune system from problems like cancer

SymptomsandDiagnosis

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on where the infection is found. A person may have problems from a:

  • Urinary tract infection
  • Abdominal and pelvic infection
  • Surgical wound infection
  • Sepsis —an overreaction of the body to infection
  • Endocarditis —an infection of the inside of the heart muscles and valves
  • Meningitis—an infection of the layers that surround the brain and spinal cord

Diagnosis

You will be asked about your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done.

Blood tests will be done. Samples will also be taken of the area that is infected. This can help the doctor choose an antibiotic that will treat it.

Treatments

Treatment

The goal is to treat the infection. This can be done with:

Antibiotics

VRE infection can be treated with other antibiotics. The one that is chosen depends on the infection and how severe it is.

Catheter Removal

A person who has a catheter in place may have it removed. This lowers the risk of more infection.

Prevention

Proper hand washing can lower the risk of VRE infection.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.

a (VRE Infection; Multiply-Resistant Enterococci)

RESOURCES

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov 

National Institutes of Health https://www.nih.gov 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Association of Gastroenterology https://www.cag-acg.org 

Health Canada https://www.canada.ca 

References

Cattoir V, Leclercq R. Twenty-five years of shared life with vancomycin-resistant enterococci: is it time to divorce? J Antimicrob Chemother. 2013 Apr;68(4):731-742.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:  https://www.dynamed.com/condition/vancomycin-resistant-enterococci-vre-infection  . Accessed September 17, 2020.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/vre/vre.html. Accessed September 17, 2020.