Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci Infection

(VRE; Multiply-Resistant Enterococci)

Definition

Enterococci are bacteria that commonly live in:
  • Intestines
  • Mouth
  • Female genital tract
In some cases, it can cause an infection. When this happens, the antibiotic vancomycin may be given to cure the infection.However, some types of the bacteria are resistant to vancomycin. When the bacteria are resistant, the infection is not cured. This is called vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection. It is more common in hospitals and long-term care facilities. It can be very dangerous to those who are critically ill.
The Intestines
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Causes

VRE is caused by specific bacteria.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your chance of VRE include:
  • Vancomycin-resistant enterococci growing in your body, usually in the intestines
  • Contact with an infected person or being in contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Previous treatment with vancomycin or another antibiotic for a long time
  • Hospitalization, or being in a long-term care facility
  • A weakened immune system from medication or illness
  • Certain medical conditions, such as neutropenia or mucositis
  • Treatment with corticosteroids, parenteral feeding, or chemotherapy
  • Previous surgery, especially a transplant
  • Use of a urinary catheter
  • Dialysis
  • Any severe illness

Symptoms

Symptoms depend on where the infection is found. VRE can cause the following:
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Intra-abdominal and pelvic infection
  • Surgical wound infection
  • Sepsis —an infection or its toxin spreading through the bloodstream
  • Endocarditis —an infection of the inner surface of the heart muscles and valves
  • Neonatal sepsis —a blood infection occurring in infants
  • Meningitis —an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
Each infection has its own symptoms.

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