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Diseases & Topics

Vancomycin-Intermediate and -Resistant Staphlococcus aureus (VISA, VRSA)

Staphlococcus aureus bacteria can develop resistance to the antibiotic vancomycin, which is often used to treat bacterial infections. Strains of staph that are less susceptible to vancomycin in laboratory tests are known as vancomycin-intermediate Staphylococcus aureus, or VISA, and vancomycin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or VRSA. These infections may occur in healthcare settings. They are treatable with other drugs.

People who develop one of these types of staph infections may have underlying health conditions such as diabetes or kidney disease, tubes such as catheters going into their bodies, previous infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), or recent exposure to vancomycin and other antimicrobial agents.

The spread of VISA and VRSA infections can be reduced by use of appropriate infection control practices, especially by healthcare personnel, such as washing one's hands with soap and water and wearing gloves before and after contact with infectious body substances. Patients and visitors should also be careful to wash their own hands, avoid touching wounds or bandages, and ensure that others wash their hands before and after touching the patient.

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