October 1996

Surgical Infection Society Position on Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Cornell University Medical College, New York, NY (Drs Davis and Barie); Department of Medicine, Oklahoma University and Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center, Oklahoma City (Dr Huycke); Department of Laboratory Medicine, Pathology, and Surgery, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis (Dr Wells); Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario (Dr Bohnen); Department of Surgery, Cornell University Medical College at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, NY (Dr Gadaleta); and Department of Pharmacy, The New York Hospital, New York (Dr Fichtl).

Arch Surg. 1996;131(10):1061-1068. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1996.01430220055013

The risk of transfer of vancomycin resistance to staphylococci is a real possibility and has been achieved in the laboratory. Prolonged colonization occurs with vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE), and many more patients are colonized than infected. The failure to identify, isolate, and adhere to infection control measures when caring for VRE-colonized patients dooms to failure any means to control its spread. Control of vancomycin use alone is unlikely to greatly affect the number of patients at risk for VRE colonization. The global spread of VRE may be impossible to stop, but infection control measures are the most important line of defense inside hospitals. Arch Surg. 1996;131:1061-1068