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Infect Dis Health. 2019 Jan 10. pii: S2468-0451(18)30163-9. doi: 10.1016/j.idh.2018.12.002. [Epub ahead of print]

An outbreak of vanA vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium in a hospital with endemic vanB VRE.

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University of Melbourne, School of Biomedical Sciences, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia.
Microbiological Diagnostic Unit Public Health Laboratory (MDU PHL), Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of Melbourne at the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia.
WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza, Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia; School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Carlton, VIC 3053, Australia.
University of Melbourne, Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3010, Australia; Infection Prevention and Surveillance Service, Royal Melbourne Hospital, Parkville, VIC 3050, Australia; NHMRC National Centre for Antimicrobial Stewardship (NCAS), Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity, Melbourne, VIC 3000, Australia. Electronic address:



In Australia, vanB vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus faecium (VREfm) has been endemic for over 20 years, but vanA VREfm isolates have rarely been reported.


This outbreak report describes an outbreak of vanA VREfm in the intensive care unit (ICU) and cardiothoracic surgery (CTS) wards of a Melbourne hospital in 2015-2016. After the cluster was initially identified in the ICU ward, an active screening programme was implemented. VRE isolates were typed using in silico multi-locus sequence typing. In addition, to screening, enhanced environmental cleaning, chlorhexidine gluconate body washes, and standardisation of the surgical antibiotic prophylaxis regimen were implemented to control the outbreak.


There were 83 new isolates of vanA VREfm recovered from patients in the ICU (n = 31) and CTS (n = 52) wards. Screening identified 78 (94%) of cases. Three patients required treatment for clinical infection with vanA VREfm during the outbreak. The outbreak was polyclonal with 5 different multilocus sequence types carrying the vanA gene (ST17, ST80, ST203, ST252 and ST1421) detected from a subset of isolates (N = 43). The ST17 isolates all carried both the vanA and vanB gene. The intervention bundle resulted in control of the outbreak after 10 months.


Geographically, vanA VREfm has previously been uncommon in the region and this outbreak represents a change in local epidemiology. Few VRE outbreaks have been reported in CTS patients. The infection control responses controlled the outbreak within 10-months and may help guide future management of outbreaks.


Enterococcus faecium; Infection control; Outbreak; VRE; Vancomycin-resistant enterococci; vanA

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