As of December 31st, 2008, the Ministry of Health and Long-Term care will require each hospital in Ontario to provide case counts and rates for MRSA and VRE bacteraemia’s. The first reporting period will include September-November 08’, and then every fiscal quarter thereafter. (April, July, October, and January).

What are MRSA and VRE bacteraemia?

MRSA: occurs when a patient is identified with a single positive blood culture (infection) of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.

VRE: a case is defined as a single positive blood culture on a patient confirming the presence of Vancomycin-resistant Enterococcus.

Who is at risk for MRSA or VRE bacteraemia?

There are 2 types of factors that increase risk, including patient susceptibility, and the amount of exposure time to high risk environments. (i.e. ICU’s, burn units, long term care facilities, etc.) Some of the conditions that increase risk of acquiring MRSA/VRE include, patients that have HIV, transplant recipients, burn victims, having indwelling medical devices that bypass the immune system, and exposure to certain classes of antibiotics.

What are the symptoms?

MRSA, or staph infections typically begin as skin lesion or abscess, and then can progress to infection of the bloodstream, or bacteraemia, which can be very difficult to cure. Symptoms can range from fever, and chills, to problems with clotting and ultimate organ failure..

How is it spread?

“The single most important mode of transmission of MRSA/VRE in a health care setting is via transiently colonized hands of health care workers who acquire it from contact with colonized or infected patients, or after handling contaminated material or equipment.” (PIDAC-March 2007)

How is it treated?

Treatment is difficult due to the fact that the infecting organism is resistant to methicillin and vancomycin, which are common first and second line treatments normally used. Therefore, the attending physician must determine through culture and sensitivity testing which alternative medications will treat the infection.

What precautions does Temiskaming Hospital take?

Our hospital has always practiced “good handwashing”, but is also presently working through a provincial program called Just Clean Your Hands, which enforces proper hand washing and sanitizing. As well, anyone who has a positive MRSA/VRE status, is cared for under additional precautions, to avoid potentially passing on MRSA/VRE.


MRSA Rates at Temiskaming Hospital:
Quarter Infection Rate Number of Cases
Q2 - Oct, Nov, Dec (2018) 0 <5
Q1 - Apr, May, Jun (2018) 0 <5


VRE Rates at Temiskaming Hospital:
Quarter Infection Rate Number of Cases
Q2 - Oct, Nov, Dec (2018) 0 <5
Q1 - Apr, May, Jun (2018) 0 <5