Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)

What is Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus?

Enterococci are germs that live in the gastrointestinal tract (bowels) of most individuals and generally do not cause harm. 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 a 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 contaminated material excreted by an infected person or from touching articles soiled by feces. VRE can survive well 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 destroy with the proper use of disinfectants and good hand hygiene.

Surveillance at Holland Bloorview

The method of calculation of the VRE bacteraemia infection rate for the reporting period (on a quarterly basis) is:


Number of nosocomial patients with laboratory identification of VRE bacteraemia x 1000 Total number of patient days

Where the numerator is the total number of newly identified cases for VRE bacteraemia associated with the reporting facility, for the reporting period. The denominator is the total number of in-patient days for the reporting period. There are no exclusion criteria.

For smaller facilities that have only a small inpatient population, like Holland Bloorview, VRE rates may vary from month to month. In fact, the smaller the facility, the greater the rates will vary, because a change in even one case in a small facility will cause the rate to go up or down considerably.

VRE Surveillance 2018

VRE Surveillance 2017

VRE surveillance 2016

VRE surveillance 2015

VRE surveillance 2014

VRE surveillance 2013

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