Utility of a focused vancomycin-resistant enterococci screening protocol to identify colonization in hospitalized children

Am J Infect Control. 2012 Nov;40(9):891-2. doi: 10.1016/j.ajic.2011.12.005. Epub 2012 Mar 14.


Screening for vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) is controversial, and disagreement exists on policy implementation. This study investigated the likelihood of a positive test using 1, 2, or 3 rectal screenings for VRE colonization. In this descriptive study of positive VRE screening cultures, a total of 1211 VRE screens identified 41 positive results. The mean age of these positive patients was 5.7 years. Thirty-nine of the 41 had a chronic illness, and only 2 were healthy. Diagnoses included pulmonary disease in 11 patients and chronic gastrointestinal abnormality in 7. Six patients had been born preterm, and 12 had been treated in a neonatal intensive care unit within the previous 6 months. Thirty-six of the 41 positive results were identified on the first screen. The likelihood of subsequently having a positive screen after a negative screen was 0.43% (95% confidence interval, 0.15%-1.02%). The cost of cultures plus isolation was $50,000 for the study period. Our data show that the likelihood of detecting a positive VRE culture after an initial negative was low, particularly in otherwise healthy children.

MeSH terms

  • Bacteriological Techniques / economics
  • Bacteriological Techniques / methods
  • Carrier State / diagnosis
  • Carrier State / epidemiology*
  • Carrier State / microbiology
  • Child
  • Child, Hospitalized
  • Child, Preschool
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology
  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Enterococcus / drug effects*
  • Enterococcus / isolation & purification*
  • Female
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / diagnosis
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / epidemiology*
  • Gram-Positive Bacterial Infections / microbiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Vancomycin Resistance*