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Antimicrob Resist Infect Control. 2017 May 16;6:48. doi: 10.1186/s13756-017-0206-z. eCollection 2017.

Weekly screening supports terminating nosocomial transmissions of vancomycin-resistant enterococci on an oncologic ward - a retrospective analysis.

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Institute of Hygiene, University Hospital Münster, Robert-Koch-Strasse 41, 48149 Münster, Germany.
Institute of Medical Microbiology, University Hospital Münster, Domagkstrasse 10, 48149 Münster, Germany.
Present address: Institute of Hygiene, DRK Kliniken Berlin, Drontheimer Str. 39-40, 13359 Berlin, Germany.
Department of Medicine A, Haematology and Oncology, University Hospital Münster, Albert-Schweitzer-Campus 1, 48149 Münster, Germany.



To investigate the impact of weekly screening within the bundle of infection control measures to terminate vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) transmissions on an oncologic ward.


A cluster of 12 VRE colonisation and five infections was detected on an oncologic ward between January and April 2015. Subsequently, the VRE point prevalence was detected and, as part of a the bundle of infection control strategies to terminate the VRE cluster, we isolated affected patients, performed hand hygiene training among staff on ward, increased observations by infection control specialists, intensified surface disinfection, used personal protective equipment and initiated an admission screening in May 2015. After a further nosocomial VRE infection in August 2015, a weekly screening strategy of all oncology patients on the respective ward was established while admission screening was continued. Whole genome sequencing (WGS)-based typing was applied to determine the clonal relationship of isolated strains.


Initially, 12 of 29 patients were VRE colonised; of these 10 were hospital-acquired. During May to August, on average 7 of 40 patients were detected to be VRE colonised per week during the admission screening, showing no significant decline compared to the initial situation. WGS-based typing revealed five different clusters of which three were due to vanB- and two vanA-positive enterococci. After an additional weekly screening was established, the number of colonised patients significantly declined to 1/53 and no further nosocomial cases were detected.


Weekly screening helped to differentiate between nosocomial and community-acquired VRE cases resulting in earlier infection control strategies on epidemic situations for a successful termination of nosocomial VRE transmissions.


E. faecium; Infection control bundle strategies; Outbreak; Screening; Vancomycin-resistant enterococci; Whole genome sequencing

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