Comparison of three methods to recover vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) from perianal and environmental samples collected during a hospital outbreak of VRE

Barbara S. Reisner, Stephanie Shaw, Mary E. Huber, Carla E. Woodmansee, Silvia Costa, Pamela S. Falk, C. Glen Mayhall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To establish an efficient and sensitive technique for recovering vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) from perianal and environmental samples collected during implementation of control measures for an outbreak of VRE. DESIGN: Perianal and environmental samples were collected in triplicate on sterile swabs. One swab was used to inoculate a selective broth medium containing 6 μg of vancomycin and 8 μg of ciprofloxacin per mL, one to inoculate Campylobacter agar containing 10 μg/mL of vancomycin, and one to inoculate Enterococcosel agar containing 8 μg/mL of vancomycin. SETTING: Samples were collected in the intensive care units of a 600-bed university hospital over a period of 2 months. SAMPLE SELECTION: Patients and their immediate environment were sampled if they resided in a ward with a patient known to be colonized or infected with VRE. RESULTS: Of the 88 perianal samples obtained from 63 patients, 37 were positive for VRE by broth culture, with 36 also recovered on both types of solid media (sensitivity, 97.3%; negative predictive value, 98.1%). Of the initial samples collected from each of the 63 patients, 20 were positive for VRE by all methods. Of the 500 environmental samples cultured, 139 were positive for VRE in broth, with only 33 recovered on Campylobacter agar (sensitivity, 23.7%; negative predictive value, 77.2%) and 22 on Enterococcosel agar (sensitivity, 15.8%; negative predictive value, 75.2%). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that, when performing surveillance cultures during an outbreak of VRE, use of an enrichment broth medium is required to recover VRE contaminating environmental surfaces; however, direct inoculation to selective solid medium is adequate to recover VRE in patient perianal specimens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number04444
Pages (from-to)775-779
Number of pages5
JournalInfection control and hospital epidemiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases

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