An Outbreak of Vancomycin-Dependent Enterococcus faecium in a Bone Marrow Transplant Unit
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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 immunocompromised patients, especially those receiving prophylactic antibiotics.
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