Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2024: Get Help Now!

Find school water testing results and additional resources

Attention Medicaid Participants: Eligibility Renewals Restarted April 1, 2023 logo

Delaware Health Alert Network #238

September 3, 2010 10:17 am

Health Alert

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has identified a case of vancomycin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA). The 83-year-old patient with multiple co-morbidities is a resident of a long-term care facility in Delaware.

The VRSA isolated by the DPH Laboratory is susceptible to tetracycline and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole.

Staphylococcus aureus is an important cause of healthcare and community-associated infections. Diseases associated with this common pathogen range from mild skin and soft tissue infections to potentially fatal systemic infections and affects individuals of all ages. Previously uniformly susceptible to penicillin, widespread use of this antibiotic led to increased resistance and resultant reliance on vancomycin for treatment of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections. The increased use of vancomycin has resulted in a change of the susceptibility of Staphylococcus aureus to this antibiotic.

The possibility of VRSA should be considered in patients who present with skin infections, bloodstream infections, surgical wound infections, and have history of underlying chronic conditions (such as chronic skin ulcers and diabetes), previous treatment with vancomycin, and history of MRSA or vancomycin resistant enterococcus (VRE).

This Delaware case represents only the 12th confirmed case of VRSA reported in the U.S.  DPH confirmed an additional case of VRSA in early April 2010. The DPH Bureau of Epidemiology is investigating this case and possible contacts per CDC recommendation.

Transmission of VRSA

VRSA is potentially transmissible from person-to-person, but such transmission has not been documented. To date, all patients with confirmed VRSA infections have had significant co-morbidities such as diabetes and renal disease, previous infections with MRSA, invasive procedures and devices, recent hospitalizations and recent exposure to vancomycin and other antimicrobial agents.

Prevention and Control

Infection control guidelines and practices in healthcare facilities are well documented and include the prevention and control of multidrug-resistant organisms including VRSA. Stringent handwashing, the use of barrier and contact precautions and appropriate antibiotic use are the basis for controlling the spread of any infectious disease.

For detailed CDC guidelines for the control of VRSA please reference:

For More Information

For more information on VRSA, please visit the CDC website at:

DPH, Bureau of Epidemiology can be contacted at (302) 744-1033 or 1-888-295-5156.


You are receiving this email because you are a registered member of the Delaware Health Alert Network. If you are not a member and would like to subscribe, please register at

Download Adobe Acrobat Reader Please note: Some of the files available on this page are in Adobe PDF format which requires Adobe Acrobat Reader. A free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader can be downloaded directly from Adobe . If you are using an assistive technology unable to read Adobe PDF, please either view the corresponding text only version (if available) or visit Adobe's Accessibility Tools page.

Categories of Health Alert messages:

  • Health Alert: Conveys the highest level of importance; warrants immediate action or attention.
  • Health Advisory: Provides important information for a specific incident or situation; may not require immediate action.
  • Health Update: Provides updated information regarding an incident or situation; unlikely to require immediate action.
NOTE: This page is for informational purposes only and dated material (e.g. temporary websites) may not be available.