Enterococci are bacteria that commonly live in the:
Female genital tract
In some cases, it can cause an infection. When this happens, the antibiotic
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.
Meningitis—an infection of the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Samples will be taken of your blood and any othe location where infection id suspected. A lab test is done to
find which bacteria is causing the infection and see what antibiotics can kill the bacteria.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Options include:
VRE infection can be treated with other types of antibiotics. Tests can be done to find out which ones will work. The type that is chosen will
based on the antibiotic sensitivity of the infection and how severe it is.
If the infection is in your bladder and you have a urinary catheter in place, you may have the catheter removed as soon as it is possible. This decreases the risk of further infection.
Any other indwelling lines may also be removed and replaced as needed.
To help reduce the chances of a VRE infection:
hand washing techniques. This is the best way to prevent VRE infections. Hand washing is especially important:
After using the bathroom
Before preparing food
After being in contact with someone who has a VRE infection
Clean and disinfect areas of your home that may be contaminated with VRE. This included the bathroom and kitchen.
Wear gloves if you are caring for someone with a VRE infection. If you
have contact with bodily fluids, wear a gown over your clothing. Also, clean the person’s room and linens.
If you are prescribed vancomycin, talk to your doctor. Taking this antibiotic is a risk factor for the bacteria to colonize in your body and for you to get a VRE infection.
If you have a VRE infection, tell your doctor. Hospitals take special precautions when they know a patient is infected.
In some hospitals, screening tests are done for patients at high-risk for a VRE infection.
Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/vre-vancomycin-resistant-enterococci. Updated March 8, 2012. Accessed April 4, 2018.
VRE in healthcare settings. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/hai/organisms/vre/vre.html. Updated May 10, 2011. Accessed April 4, 2018.
Last reviewed March 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Daus Mahnke, MD
Last Updated: 6/19/2014
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