VRE – Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci – Outbreak

Specimen Collection and Handling

Specimen Requirements

Test Requested Required Requisition(s) Specimen Type Minimum Volume Collection Kit

VRE – Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci for ID and Susceptibility 

Pure VRE culture isolates primary

Appropriate media that supports the growth of an organism.

VRE – Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci (for Outbreaks only)

Rectal swabs

Amies charcoal transport medium

Submission and Collection Notes


Contact Public Health Ontario laboratory prior to collecting primary swabs for outbreak specimens


Indicate the following on the General Test Requisition Form:

  • symptoms
  • onset date 
  • clinical/epidemiology information

Timing of Specimen Collection

Specimens should be collected during the acute phase of illness. Sample should be sent to PHO laboratory within 3 days.

Preparation Prior to Transport

Label the specimen with the patient’s full name, date of collection and one other unique identifier such as the patient’s date of birth or Health Card Number. Failure to provide this information may result in rejection or testing delay.

Special Instructions

Place specimen in biohazard bag and seal. Specimens should be stored at 2-8°C following collection and shipped to PHO laboratory on ice packs.

Requisitions and Kit Ordering

Test Frequency and Turnaround Time (TAT)

VRE culture is set up daily Monday to Friday.

Turnaround time is up to 3 days from receipt by PHO laboratory.


Results are reported to the ordering physician or health care provider as indicated on the requisition.

Specimens that are positive for VRE are to be reported to the Medical Officer of Health as per Health Protection and Promotion Act.

Test Methods

Swabs are set up on bacterial culture medium for identification. Tests may include antimicrobial susceptibility and genetic and molecular typing.

Data and Analysis

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Laboratory Services


Updated 25 Sep 2019