MRSA and VRE: Preventing Patient-to-Patient Spread

Cassandra D. Salgado, MD, MS, Barry M. Farr, MD, MSc

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and vancomycin- resistant Enterococcus are two of the most important antibiotic-resistant organisms that cause nosocomial infections. Rates of resistance among these organisms have increased significantly over the last decade. The reservoir for transmission consists of colonized and infected patients, many of whom have gone unidentified in US hospitals because cultures were never requested for them. Appropriate use of antibiotics, hand hygiene, and decontamination of the environment and equipment are recognized steps to reduce the spread of resistant organisms. Use of surveillance cultures and contact precautions are also very effective ways to control nosocomial spread of these organisms.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus (VRE) are two of the most epidemiologically important antibiotic-resistant pathogens that cause hospital-acquired infections. This article will review their epidemiology and discuss methods for controlling patient-to-patient spread of these organisms as a means of preventing infection.