VRE outbreak declared on the 3B Medical/Surgical Unit at Norfolk General Hospital

February 17, 2023 – Norfolk General Hospital (NGH) has declared a Vancomycin-Resistant Enterococcus (VRE) outbreak on the 3B Medical/Surgical Unit after five patients tested positive.

All infection prevention and control (IPAC) measures are in place to control the spread of the infection and bring the outbreak to an end as quickly as possible.

Our IPAC safety measures include:

  • Isolation precautions
  • Enhanced cleaning strategies
  • Visitor restrictions
  • Enhanced environmental auditing

As a result of the VRE outbreak, visitors are no longer permitted to enter the unit, except for Essential Care Providers (ECPs) in consultation with the patient’s care team. To ensure patients have the support they need, patients will be allowed two designated ECPs; however, only one ECP will be allowed at a time.

We will provide as much information as possible to our patients, families, and the community until the VRE outbreak is declared over.

What is VRE (Vancomycin Resistant Enterococcus)?

Enterococci are germs that live in the gastrointestinal tract (bowels) of most people and generally do not cause harm (this is termed ‘colonization’). Vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) are strains of enterococci that are resistant to the antibiotic vancomycin. If a person has an infection caused by VRE, such as a urinary tract infection or blood infection, it may be more difficult to treat. VRE is spread from one person to another by contact.