VRE Outbreak declared on Medicine B

Thursday, January 19, 2023

CMH declared today (Jan. 19) a Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) outbreak on Medicine B (Wing C, Level 4). At this time, six patients have been identified as healthcare-acquired positive cases (only one of these remains hospitalized at this time). A hospital outbreak is declared when there is an increase of cases of VRE over baseline rate from one month to another. VRE outbreaks are not reportable to Public Health. 

VRE is an antimicrobial-resistant organism (ARO) of concern within hospitals. VRE colonizes patients intestinal tract, and is transmitted via direct contact (person-to-person) and indirect contact (environment-to-person). Patients are routinely monitored as part of the hospital’s routine ARO surveillance program.

Risk to staff is low, if PPE is used properly and hand hygiene is performed according to the 4 Moments of Hand Hygiene. On-going surveillance of staff is not required. In response to the outbreak, these precautions have also been added to enhance safety:

  • All patients on Med B are isolated in contact precautions (at a minimum)
  • Bolstered hand hygiene observations and monitoring of equipment cleaning, including noco-spray
  • Enhanced environmental cleaning, including terminal cleans of the entire unit and following discharge of isolated patients
  • Hand hygiene packets provided on patient food trays for patients to use BEFORE consuming their meal.
  • Cohorting VRE positive patients to an area of the unit, as we are able.  

Care partners will not be restricted to the unit, though we will require their compliance with  PPE. They will be given information about VRE and how to protect against getting infected. 

Testing for VRE occurs weekly and two negative prevalence screens are required before a VRE outbreak can be declared over. The earliest possible date this outbreak can be declared over is Thursday, February 3, 2023.