Background: After the occurrence of two cases of bloodstream infection with vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) in our regional neonatal intensive care unit, we studied the epidemiology of VRE and applied extensive infection control measures to the unit to control VRE transmission.
Methods: Infection control measures applied to the unit included weekly surveillance for VRE colonization; education; cohorting of VRE-positive, VRE-negative and VRE-exposed babies with separate personnel and equipment for each group; use of gowns and gloves on room entry; and hand washing before and after each patient contact. Risk factors for VRE colonization were determined with a stepwise logistic regression model.
Results: Thirty-three (40.2%) babies became colonized with VRE. The VRE colonization rate was reduced from 67% to 7% after implementation of infection control measures. Prolonged antimicrobial treatment and low birth weight were significantly associated with an increased risk of VRE colonization.
Conclusion: VRE can spread rapidly among newborns in a regional neonatal intensive care unit. Strict infection control measures can reduce the rate of VRE colonization among neonates.