VRE stands for Vancomycin Resistant Enterococci. VRE is a type of enterococcus bacterium that has become resistant to antibiotics such as penicillin, gentamicin, and vancomycin. Such drugs are usually used to treat infections with Enterococci, but do not work for fighting infections caused by VRE.
Enterococci are bacteria that normally live in the human intestine and female genital tract. Almost everyone acquires these organisms from birth and carries them throughout life. They normally do not cause disease, but can cause infections in someone whose immune system is weakened or can infect other parts of the body from the intestinal tract.