Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is a bacteria that generally infects the blood, urinary tract and wounds. Patients with compromised immune systems are particularly susceptible to infection. Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VRE) is responsible for approximately 10% of all hospital infections. VRE is dangerous because it cannot be controlled with antibiotics, and it causes life-threatening infections in people with compromised immune systems.
One can be exposed to VRE by coming in contact with a contaminated object or person, or by eating contaminated food. The most likely place to be infected with a VRE infection is in hospitals. VRE can cultivate from hospital equipment, doorknobs, and bedrails. It has also been cultured on the hands of hospital personnel. Anyone who frequents hospitals should be considered at risk for carrying VRE.
The symptoms of a VRE infection often depend on where the infection is. If VRE is causing a wound infection, that area of your skin may be red or tender. If one has a urinary tract infection, you may have back pain, a burning sensation when you urinate, or a need to urinate more often than usual. Other symptoms include diarrhea, weakness, fever, and chills.
If you develop a VRE infection, you will be isolated in a private hospital room to reduce the chances of spreading the bacteria to others. When your medical staff is tending to you, they will use extra precautions such as wearing gloves and gowns. VRE infections may be difficult to cure because the bacteria does not respond to many antibiotics. If you have an infection, your doctor will order antibiotics that may be given by mouth or into a vein through an IV (intravenously).
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