An outbreak of vancomycin-dependent Enterococcus faecium in a bone marrow transplant unit

Beth D. Kirkpatrick, S. M. Harrington, D. Smith, D. Marcellus, C. Miller, J. Dick, L. Karanfil, T. M. Perl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Outbreaks of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are well described. The presence of mutants of VRE, such as vancomycin-dependent enterococci (VDE), in individual patients has been documented, but their potential to spread nosocomially has not been known. We present the first cluster of patients who acquired VDE nosocomially. Five bone marrow transplantation patients were infected or colonized by a genotypically indistinguishable multiantibiotic-resistant strain of Enterococcus faecium. Vancomycin dependence in 3 of the 5 isolates was demonstrated. All cluster patients had received protracted prophylactic treatment with vancomycin (mean, 22.6 days), and specimens from ≥ 2 body sites were repeatedly culture-positive for the outbreak strain. The outbreak was controlled with aggressive infection control strategies, and prophylactic antibiotic policies were revised. Awareness of the potential for nosocomial spread of multiantibiotic-resistant VDE is vital for the care of immunocomproised patients, especially those receiving prophylactic antibiotics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1268-1273
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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