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Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus

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Niagara Health takes your care and your safety very seriously, and we are committed to communicating details about our Infection Prevention and Control program.

Niagara Health takes your care and your safety very seriously, and we are committed to communicating details about our Infection Prevention and Control program. See below for charts showing the VRE infection rates at each of our inpatient hospital facilities. Each month, we will post these details. The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has posted information regarding rates at all Ontario hospitals. Please read on for information about VRE and how you can help prevent the spread of infection.

VRE Colonization

Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) Hospital Acquired Colonized Cases – Incident Rate

VRE Hospital Acquired Colonized Cases Incident Rate 

VRE Bacteraemia Infection

Number of New Hospital Acquired VRE Bacteraemia Infection cases:

Number of New Hospital Acquired VRE Bacteraemia Infection cases

 VRE Bacteraemia Infection Incident Rate per 1,000 patient days:

VRE Bacteraemia Infection Incident Rate per 1,000 patient days 

Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) Bacteraemia Infection – Hospital Acquired Incident Rate:

VRE Bacteraemia Infection Hospital Acquired Incident Rate 

What is VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus)?

Enterococci are germs that live in the gastrointestinal tract (bowels) of most people and generally do not cause harm (this is termed ‘colonization’). Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are strains of enterococci that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. If a person has an infection caused by VRE, such as a urinary tract infection or blood infection, it may be more difficult to treat.

What is colonization?

The presence and growth of a micro-organism in or on a body with growth and multiplication but without tissue invasion or cellular injury. The patient will be asymptomatic.

What is bacteraemia?

Bacteraemia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream and is referred to as a bloodstream infection.

How is VRE spread?

VRE is spread from one person to another by contact, usually on the hands of caregivers. VRE can be present on the caregiver’s hands, either from touching soiled articles belonging to an infected person. VRE survives 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 special precautions are required for VRE in hospital?

Precautions include:

  • Single room accommodation (the door can remain open)
  • A long-sleeved gown and gloves must be worn by everyone who cares for you
  • A sign may be placed on your door to remind others who enter your room about the special precautions
  • The room and the equipment used in the room will be cleaned and disinfected regularly
  • Everyone who leaves your room must clean their hands well
  • You must wash your hands before you leave your room

What about family and visitors?

Your family and visitors should not assist other patients with their personal care as this may cause the germ to spread. They may be required to wear a long-sleeved gown and gloves while in your room. Before leaving your room, visitors must remove the gloves and gown and dispose of them in the garbage container and linen hamper located in your room. Then they must clean their hands.

Good hand hygiene practices …

Remind all staff and visitors to practice good hand hygiene before and after they touch you. Ask your nurse or doctor to demonstrate proper hand hygiene techniques (15 seconds of soap and running water OR waterless alcohol hand rub until hands are dry).

You need to clean your hands:

  • After using the bathroom
  • After blowing your nose
  • Before eating and drinking
  • Before and after you touch your dressing or wounds
  • When your hands are visibly dirty (soiled)
  • Before you leave your room

What will happen at home?

If you have VRE at the time of discharge from hospital, there is a small chance of spreading the germ to your family. We recommend you practice the following:

  • Everyone who might help you with your personal hygiene or with going to the toilet should wash their hands after contact with you.
  • Wash your hands before you make any food and before you eat. This practice should be followed by everyone in the household.
  • Wash your hands well after using the toilet. If you share a bathroom, make sure others using that bathroom wash their hands well afterwards.
  • If you share a bathroom at home, clean the toilet and sink at least weekly with a germicidal cleanser.
  • Clothing may be laundered in the same manner as the rest of the household laundry.
  • No special cleaning of furniture or items (e.g. dishes) in the home is required.
  • Always tell your physician, paramedics, nurses or other care providers that you have VRE. This helps prevent spread to others.

For more information, please speak to your Health Care Provider.

Niagara Health