Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) (cont.)

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Treatment

Most VRE infections can be treated with antibiotics other than vancomycin. Some of the antibiotics that fail to work because of intrinsic resistance include some types of penicillin, cephalosporins, clindamycin, and aminoglycosides. Treatments that are ineffective because of acquired resistance include vancomycin, some penicillins, macrolides (such as erythromycin), tetracycline, quinolones, and others.

The course of treatment is determined by testing different antibiotics in the laboratory to determine which ones might be most effective against the infectious strain. If you develop a VRE infection and have a urinary catheter, sometimes removing the catheter will clear the infection.

If you are colonized with VRE -- the bacteria are present but have not caused an infection -- you usually will not require treatment.

Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) Prevention

Proper hand hygiene - thorough washing with soap and then drying - is the best way to prevent the spread of enterococci.

The CDC Hospital Infection Control Program encourages hospitals to develop their own institution-specific plans, which should stress:

  • Prudent vancomycin use by clinicians


  • Hospital staff education regarding vancomycin resistance


  • Early detection and prompt reporting of vancomycin resistance in enterococci and other gram-positive microorganisms by the hospital microbiology laboratory


  • Immediate implementation of appropriate infection control measures to prevent person-to-person VRE transmission