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Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (VRE)

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What Happens When I Go Home VRE is not dangerous for people who are in good health You do not need to do anything different from anyone else as you go about your normal life Clothes bed linen and dishes can be washed as usual Just as for everybody else we recommend that you are careful about cleaning your hands thoroughly Everyone should clean their hands before preparing or eating food Clean hands protect you and others from the spread of most bugs not just VRE Following good hand hygiene practice all the time helps to prevent the spread of bacteria and viruses When you use the toilet it is really important that you leave the toilet clean and in the condition that you would like to find it Further information Please do not hesitate to ask the healthcare staff looking after you if you have any questions or if you require further information about VRE Information on hand hygiene infection control and managing superbugs at home is available on www hse ie infectioncontrol INFECTION PREVENTION CONTROL TEAM INFORMATION ON VRE VANCOMYCIN RESISTANT ENTEROCOCCI Beacon Hospital Sandyford Dublin 18 D18 AK68 This leaflet is adapted from the information leaflet produced by the HSE www hse ie August 2022 Version 2 Tel 01 293 6600 www beaconhospital ie

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INFORMATION ON VRE VANCOMYCIN RESISTANT ENTEROCOCCI What Are VRE VRE are bacteria bugs that live in the bowel VRE is short for Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci but we will use only the short name VRE in this leaflet VRE are resistant to many antibiotics which are used to treat infections This means they are harder to kill with antibiotics than other common bugs that live in the bowel Sometimes these bugs that are resistant to antibiotics are called superbugs For most people VRE can commonly live harmlessly in the bowel and does not cause infection However VRE can cause serious infection in some patients for example those in intensive care or patients undergoing chemotherapy If you get a VRE infection it can be treated with special antibiotics common antibiotics will not work If you get a serious infection with VRE doctors need to know as soon as possible so that you get the right antibiotics without delay How Did I Get VRE VRE is much more common than it was 20 years ago Because it is now so common there is usually no way of telling where or when you picked it up You might have had VRE in your bowel for months or even years before you had a test that showed you had VRE This is because in most people VRE lives harmlessly in the bowel for a long time Twenty years ago VRE was rare except in people who spent a lot of time in hospital VRE is still common in people who spend a lot of time in hospital It can also be found in some people who have not spent time in hospital What Are the Symptoms of VRE As long as VRE stays in the bowel it will not cause illness It does not cause diarrhoea or stomach pains However if the VRE gets into the bladder kidney or blood it can cause infection When this happens the person will often get a temperature pain and shivering similar to symptoms of any other infection If you need treatment many of the ordinary antibiotics do not work Your doctor will have to give you special antibiotics to treat the VRE infection How Long Will I Have VRE VRE can live in your bowel for months or even years If you do not have to take antibiotics for a long time you increase the chance that it will fade away If you need to take antibiotics often it will take VRE longer to clear How Can I Reduce the Spread of VRE The best way to stop spread of all bugs and viruses is to keep the toilet rim and seat clean and to clean your hands thoroughly after going to the toilet and before eating If you go to hospital you will notice that the staff will be especially careful to clean their hands after they have been caring for you Sometimes they will wear aprons and gloves You may be given a single room if one is available These steps are taken to help reduce the spread of VRE If you know you are carrying a superbug it is important to tell a member of staff when you come to hospital

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