Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) facts

West Park Healthcare Centre takes your care and safety very seriously, and we are committed to transparency. On a quarterly basis we report our Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) bloodstream infection rates here on our website.

If you have any questions about the information below or about our hospital’s infection prevention and control program, please contact West Park Healthcare Centre's Infection Control via e-mail or by phone at 416-243-3600 ext. 2718.

Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) bacteremia rates West Park Healthcare Centre posts its infection rates online on a quarterly basis. On this website, you can find information about hospital-acquired infection rates for VRE bacteremias.

What is a bacteremia?

Bacteremia is the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream and is referred as a bloodstream infection.

What is a case of VRE bacteremia?

A case is a patient identified with laboratory confirmed bloodstream infection with VRE.

What is vancomycin resistant Enterococcus?

Enterococci are germs that live in the gastrointestinal tract (bowels) of most individuals and generally do not cause harm (this is termed "colonization"). Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are strains of enterococci that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. If a person has an infection caused by VRE, such as a urinary tract infection or blood infection, it may be more difficult to treat.

How is VRE diagnosed?

All patients are tested for VRE on admission. If a patient shows signs and symptoms of an unexplained infection then additional testing will take place.

What are the risk factors for acquiring VRE?

People at risk for colonization or infection with VRE are usually hospitalized and have an underlying medical condition which makes them susceptible to infection. These conditions include clients/patients/residents with:

  • Critical illnesses in intensive care units;
  • Severe underlying disease or weakened immune systems;
  • Urinary catheters;
  • Exposure to (or contact with) a client/patient/resident with VRE;
  • Antibiotic use, particularly vancomycin;
  • Recent hospitalization in healthcare facilities outside Canada.

How does VRE spread?

VRE is spread from one person to another by contact, often on the hands of caregivers. VRE can be present on the caregiver's hands either from touching contaminated material excreted by an infected person or from touching articles soiled by feces. VRE can survive well on hands and can survive for weeks on inanimate objects such as toilet seats, taps, door handles, bedrails, furniture and bedpans. VRE is easy to kill with the proper use of disinfectants and good hand hygiene.

What precautions are used to prevent the appearance of VRE at West Park?

Performing hand hygiene frequently is the best defense against the spread of infection. West Park has hand sanitizers located throughout the Centre, at main entrances, and in clinical units as well as most patient rooms include wash stations at their entrances. West Park emphasizes the highest standard of cleanliness, using trained professional cleaning staff to maintain a clean and safe environment. West Park monitors patient symptoms daily and follows strict infection control guidelines when someone is suspected or confirmed with having VRE.

How does West Park Healthcare Centre control the spread of VRE?

At West Park any person with VRE will be placed on special isolation precautions, which include appropriate accommodation. Their activities outside the room will be restricted. All health care staff who enters the room will wear a gown and gloves. Everyone MUST clean their hands when leaving the room. Dedicated equipment or adequate cleaning and disinfecting of shared equipment including transport equipment is required. Special cleaning procedures are put in place in the affected patient's room to ensure that all frequently touched surfaces are thoroughly cleaned.

Does West Park Healthcare Centre track VRE cases?

All cases of VRE are identified early and the Infection Prevention and Control Service (IPAC) are informed. IPAC then tracks all patients with VRE along with other infections.

To view West Park's infection rates, click here.

For more information about West Park's infection prevention and control initiatives, contact West Park Healthcare Centre's Infection Control via e-mail or by phone at 416-243-3600 ext. 2718.