Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE) (cont.)

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What is the prognosis for a vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infection?

VRE infections can be cured in most patients, and the outcome is often more dependent on the underlying disease than on the infecting organism. The duration of treatment depends on the site of infection. For example, heart-valve infections may require six weeks of antibiotic therapy. Although the heart valve or other infected site infection is cured of VRE infection, many patients may be still colonized with the organism on mucosal surfaces.

What are the complications of VRE infections?

The complications most often seen with VRE infections are sepsis, endocarditis, urinary tract infections, meningitis, and severe wound infections. Early appropriate antibiotic treatment can reduce the severity of these complications; if any complications develop, an infectious-disease consultant is recommended.

Is it possible to prevent vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) infections?

The best way to prevent infection is to prevent transmission. This means that hospitals and care facilities must pay meticulous attention to infection-control guidelines to reduce the spread of VRE from patient to patient. Individuals can reduce their risk by washing hands after using the bathroom and before and after touching the mouth or nose. Minimizing the use of intravenous catheters, especially central lines, reduces the risk of VRE sepsis. Similarly, the use of urinary catheters should be minimized and catheters should be removed promptly when no longer needed. Finally, antibiotics should be used only for appropriate indications. Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses and the common cold. There is no vaccine available against VRE.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/22/2014

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