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LHSC has been actively controlling VRE for many years and have not seen any worrisome trends or increase in serious infections caused by these bacteria. Occasionally people colonized with VRE do get ill with an infection; however, the risk of infection is very low. Although VRE is quite resistant to antibiotics, there are now antibiotics available to treat these infections if they occur.
Although LHSC no longer screens patients for VRE colonization, we are tracking all enterococcal infections, VRE infections and the outcomes of these in our patients as part of our city-wide infection monitoring program and continue to monitor and report our rates of VRE bloodstream infections as part of our reporting requirements for the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Carefully monitoring the data aids us in making quality improvements in our organization.
All direct care staff are given infection control education on hire and all new and current direct care givers complete the new Ministry of Health and Long Term Care core teaching on infection control practices. Excellent hand hygiene practices combined with a comprehensive environmental cleaning program remain the cornerstones of Infection Control within our patient care environment.
In August 2012 the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee (PIDAC) released a review of literature for evidence-based practices for VRE control.
In October 2012 LHSC in collaboration with the other Ontario teaching hospitals that changed VRE screening practice sent a response to PIDAC’s review.