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Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA)

Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus aureus (VISA) and Vancomycin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (VRSA) are reportable diseases in Oklahoma.  VISA and VRSA are specific types of antimicrobial-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria.  Staphylococcus aureus is also known as “staph”, and may be abbreviated as S. aureus.

While most staph bacteria are susceptible to the antimicrobial agent vancomycin, VISA and VRSA have developed resistance and must be treated with other antibiotics or strategies.  Anyone is susceptible to VISA and VRSA; however individuals that develop VISA and VRSA infections are more likely to have several underlying health conditions (such as diabetes and kidney disease), previous infections with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), tubes going into their bodies (such as intravenous [IV] catheters), recent hospitalizations, and recent exposure to vancomycin and other antimicrobial agents.

Staph bacteria are classified as VISA or VRSA based on laboratory tests of the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of antibiotic resistance.  VISA and VRSA differ in the amount of resistance they possess to vancomycin.  VISA is the least resistant with MIC of 4-8 micrograms while VRSA is the most resistant with a MIC of greater than 16 micrograms.

What can be done to prevent VISA and VRSA?

  • Use of appropriate infection control practices (such as wearing gloves before and after contact with infectious body substances and adherence to hand hygiene) by healthcare personnel can reduce the spread of VISA and VRSA.
  • What should I do if a family member or close friend has VISA or VRSA? - VISA and VRSA are types of antibiotic-resistant staph bacteria. Therefore, as with all staph bacteria, spread occurs among people having close physical contact with infected patients or contaminated material like bandages. Therefore, persons having close physical contact with infected persons while they are outside of the healthcare setting should:
    • Keep their hands clean by washing thoroughly with soap and water, and
    • Avoid contact with other people’s wounds or material contaminated from wounds.
    • If you visit a friend or family member who is infected with VISA or VRSA while they are hospitalized, follow the hospital’s recommended precautions.

VISA/VRSA Fact Sheets and Resources:

VISA/VRSA Fact Sheet (43k.pdf)

External VISA/VRSA Resources:


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