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The prevalence of colonization with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus at a Veterans’ Affairs institution


OBJECTIVE: To study vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) prevalence, risk factors, and clustering among hospital inpatients.

DESIGN: Rectal-swab prevalence culture survey conducted from February 5 to March 22, 1996.

SETTING: The Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, Atlanta, Georgia.

PATIENTS: Hospital (medical and surgical) inpatients.

RESULTS: The overall VRE prevalence was 29% (42/147 patients). The VRE prevalence was 52% (38/73 patients) among patients who had received at least one of six specific antimicrobials during the preceding 120 days, compared with only 5% (4/74) among those who had not received the antimicrobials (relative risk, 9.6; P<.001). The longer the period (up to 120 days) during which antimicrobial use was studied, the more closely VRE status was predicted. Among 67 hospital patients in 28 multibed rooms, clustering of VRE among current roommates was not found.

CONCLUSIONS: At this hospital with relatively high VRE prevalence, VRE colonization was related to antibiotic use but not to roommate VRE status. In hospitals with a similar VRE epidemiology, obtaining cultures from roommates of VRE-positive patients may not be as efficient a strategy for identifying VRE-colonized patients as obtaining screening cultures from patients who have received antimicrobials.

Tokars JI, Satake S, Rimland D, Carson L, Miller ER, Killum E, Sinkowitz-Cochran RL, Arduino MJ, Tenover FC, Marston B, Jarvis WR

Infect Control Hosp Epidemiol 1999 Mar;20(3):171-5

PMID: 10100542