Medical Definition of Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE): a type of bacteria called enterococci that have developed resistance to many antibiotics, particularly vancomycin. Enterococci bacteria are present normally in the intestines and on the skin, usually without causing problems. But they can sometimes cause serious infections, especially in people who are ill or have weakened immune systems. In the past, physicians could rely on the drug vancomycin to effectively treat enterococcal infections, but in recent decades, some enterococci have become resistant to vancomycin and other antibiotics. Some common sites for VRE infections include the intestines, the urinary tract, and wounds. VRE can be spread from person to person and are an increasing problem in hospitals and chronic-care facilities.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018
References
Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.