Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococci (VRE)

VRE Rates for January to March 2023
Site Total # New Cases Rate
St. Joseph's Hospital 0 0.00
Parkwood Institute Main Building 0 0.00
Parkwood Institute Mental Health Care Building 0 0.00
Southwest Centre for Forensic Mental Health Care 0 0.00

archived monthly rates

About this patient safety indicator:
Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) is one of seven infection control related indicators subject to province-wide reporting requirements for Ontario hospitals.

Since 2008, hospitals have been required by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to report their VRE infection rates publicly.

St. Joseph's updates this rate on a quarterly basis. Public reporting of VRE rates is a helpful measure to ensure the care we provide our patients is safe and continually improving.

St. Joseph's strongly supports the provincial government's public reporting regime because we believe it inspires improved performance, enhances patient safety, and strengthens the public's confidence in Ontario hospitals.

How are the rates calculated?
[(# of new hospital-acquired cases in patients with laboratory confirmed VRE Blood Stream Infections (BSI))
(# of patient days)]


= incidence rate of hospital-acquired VRE BSI within the reporting facility per 1000 patient days

What is Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE)?
Enterococci are bacteria found in the human bowel and genital tract. Normally they do not cause infection but may do so in hospitalized patients with decreased body defenses. VRE has acquired resistance to standard antibiotics.

How is VRE treated?
Should infection develop with VRE, alternate antibiotics are required for treatment.

How to prevent spread?
Everyone, including staff, volunteers, visitors and patients should practice good hand hygiene while at St. Joseph's to prevent the spread of bacteria that cause infections.

Does St. Joseph’s screen patients for VRE?
In July 2012, St. Joseph’s along with a number of other teaching hospitals in Ontario including: London Health Sciences Centre, University Health Network (UHN), Kingston General Hospital and the Ottawa Hospital stopped screening patients for VRE colonization. We are still actively tracking and reporting all VRE infections.

Why stop screening for VRE?
Our decision to stop screening patients for VRE was based on national evidence gathered over the past 13 years that shows the vast majority of VRE colonization cases do not result in critical illness or serious infection. For patients that do get a VRE infection we now have the antibiotics to treat it. This was not the case 15 years ago when VRE first appeared.

What are the benefits to stopping VRE screening?
There are many benefits to stopping VRE screening. Resources have been reallocated to control other more threatening organisms such as MRSA and C difficile. Also, VRE patients no longer need to be placed in isolation, a practice that evidence shows decreases patients mental well being.

Have other hospitals in our region continued VRE screening?
Yes, regional hospitals continue to screen for VRE.

What has been the advice of the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee?
In August the Provincial Infectious Disease Advisory Committee (PIDAC) released a review of literature for evidence-based practices for VRE control.

In October 2012 St. Joseph’s in collaboration with the other Ontario teaching hospitals that changed VRE screening practice sent a response to PIDAC’s review.