Vancomycin resistant Enterococci bacteria cause approximately 30% of Enterococci infections. Enterococci normally exists in the gut but can cause infection anywhere in the body. Enterococci are a rod shaped gram negative bacteria. Many antibiotics have no affect on these bacteria. In the past Vancomycin was useful in treating Enterococci bacteria infection but like all living organisms they can mutate and adapt to their environment. The Vancomycin resistant mutation occurs when sensitive Enterococci acquire a plasmid, (a piece of DNA) which in turn changes its structure making it more resistant against being destroyed by the antibiotic Vancomycin. It is thought that the resistance ability to Vancomycin can be transferred to other kinds of bacteria.
Patients with Vancomycin resistant Enterococci bacteria that have colonized can acquire further infection in the urinary tract or even an abdominal abscess. Once VRE is in the bloodstream endocarditis, meningitis, or even pneumonia can occur. A person can also get Vancomycin resistant Enterococci bacteria directly in a wound.
Hospital staff can be vectors for carrying Vancomycin resistant Enterococci bacteria. Moving from one infected patient to another without clothing change, hand washing, and proper sanitation of any instruments used in caring for a patient can transfer microscopic bacteria to other patients. Hospital and nursing care patients often have lower immunity to many different diseases and bacteria. Many people take antibiotics due to illness and while many times these people get better their normal immune system has been disrupted. Hundreds of bacteria exist in our bodies and when they are well balanced our bodies maintain resistance to most potentially harmful infections and illness. Antibiotics kill some bacteria while leaving others alone. If some bacteria colonize while others are killed off the balance can be dangerous and leaves the patient vulnerable to other complications.
Are Enterococci bacteria airborne? Yes, just like many other bacteria and viruses. 1 Much thought and research needs to be given to insure proper air purification/filtration in hospitals and nursing care facilities to prevent the spread of disease and infection. Clean indoor air along with hand washing and surface cleaning and sanitation can significantly reduce the spread of Vancomycin resistant Enterococci bacteria.
The recognized technology that does destroy airborne pathogens is photocatalytic oxidation. Zandair™ uses this in their air purification/filtration products. Learn more about this effective technology on our website. Please contact us with your comments or questions about our products. 9/11