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Evidence supporting the effectiveness of single-room contact precautions (SCP) in preventing in-hospital acquisition of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (haVRE) is limited.


We assessed the impact of SCP on haVRE and their transmission.


We conducted a prospective, multicentre cohort study in German haematological/oncological departments during 2016. Two sites performed SCP for VRE patients and two did not (NCP). We defined a 5% haVRE-risk difference as non-inferiority margin, screened patients for VRE, and characterised isolates by whole genome sequencing and core genome MLST (cgMLST). Potential confounders were assessed by competing risk regression analysis.


We included 1,397 patients at NCP and 1,531 patients at SCP sites. Not performing SCP was associated with a significantly higher proportion of haVRE; 12.2% (170/1,397) patients at NCP and 7.4% (113/1,531) patients at SCP sites (relative risk (RR) 1.74; 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.35–2.23). The difference (4.8%) was below the non-inferiority margin. Competing risk regression analysis indicated a stronger impact of antimicrobial exposure (subdistribution hazard ratio (SHR) 7.46; 95% CI: 4.59–12.12) and underlying disease (SHR for acute leukaemia 2.34; 95% CI: 1.46–3.75) on haVRE than NCP (SHR 1.60; 95% CI: 1.14–2.25). Based on cgMLST and patient movement data, we observed 131 patient-to-patient VRE transmissions at NCP and 85 at SCP sites (RR 1.76; 95% CI: 1.33–2.34).


We show a positive impact of SCP on haVRE in a high-risk population, although the observed difference was below the pre-specified non-inferiority margin. Importantly, other factors including antimicrobial exposure seem to be more influential.


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