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Editor's Correspondence
Oct 10, 2011

Novel Intervention for Eliminating VRE From the Environment

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Departments of Infectious Diseases (Drs Chemaly and Ghantoji) and Infection Control and Employee Health (Dr Chemaly), The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston; and Xenex Healthcare Services LLC, Austin, Texas (Dr Stibich).

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(18):1684-1685. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.456

We read with great interest the article by Datta et al1 examining the impact of an environmental cleaning intervention on the risk of acquiring multidrug-resistant organisms (MDROs) from the prior room occupant. They noted that the environmental cleaning intervention eliminated the increased risk of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) acquisition from an MRSA-positive prior room occupant but did not eliminate the increased risk of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) acquisition from a VRE-positive prior room occupant. The authors speculated that the lower effectiveness of the environmental intervention in reducing transmission of VRE may be due to a higher burden of VRE contamination in the environment and a greater difficulty in eliminating VRE contamination. The residual presence of VRE in the environment, even after terminal cleaning, is not surprising considering the work of Carling et al,2 who showed in multiple studies that standard housekeeping failed to properly disinfect approximately half of the high-touch surfaces in patient rooms.

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