Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) - Overview
How are VRE infections treated?
get a serious infection with VRE, you may be isolated in a private hospital
room to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria to others. When your
doctors and nurses are caring for you, they may use extra precautions such as
wearing gloves and gowns.
VRE infections may be difficult to cure
because the bacteria do not respond to many antibiotics. If you have an
infection, your doctor will order antibiotics that may be given by mouth or
into a vein through an IV (intravenously). Sometimes more than one
antibiotic is prescribed to help stop the infection. Part of your treatment may
include sending samples of your blood, urine, or stool to a lab to see if you
still have VRE in your body.
Some people get rid of VRE infections on their
own as their bodies get stronger. This can take a few months or even longer.
Other times, an infection will go away and then come back. Sometimes the
infection will go away, but the bacteria will remain without causing infection.
This is called colonization.
How can you prevent VRE infections?
As more antibiotic-resistant bacteria develop and more
cases of VRE infections are documented, hospitals and other health care facilities are
taking extra care to practice infection control, which includes frequent
hand-washing and isolation of patients infected with VRE.
though most healthy people are not at risk for becoming infected or colonized
with VRE, you can take steps to prevent getting a VRE infection.
- Practice good hygiene.
- Keep your hands clean by washing them
thoroughly with soap and clean, running water or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Hand-washing is the best way to avoid infection of any kind.
cuts and scrapes clean and covered with a bandage and avoid contact with other
people's wounds or bandages.
- Do not share personal items such as
towels or razors.
- Keep your environment clean by wiping all frequently touched
surfaces (such as countertops, doorknobs, and light switches) with a
disinfectant, especially if someone in the house has a VRE infection.
- Be smart about using antibiotics. Know that
antibiotics can help treat bacterial infections, but they
cannot cure viral infections. Always ask your doctor if
antibiotics are the best treatment. And avoid pressuring your doctor into
prescribing antibiotics when he or she thinks they won't help you get
- Always take all your antibiotic medicine as prescribed by
your doctor. If you use only part of the medicine, it may not cure your
infection. Also, it may cause antibiotic-resistant bacteria to develop.
- Do not save any antibiotics, and do not use antibiotics that
were prescribed for someone else or for a different problem.
- If you
are in the hospital, remind doctors and nurses to wash their hands before they