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Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus Aureus Infection


  • Vancomycin intermediate staphylococcus (staf-i-lo-KOK-us) aureus (VISA) infection is a condition caused by bacteria (germs). This infection occurs when bacteria, called Staphylococcus aureus or Staph, becomes resistant (not killed) to the antibiotic medicine vancomycin. With VISA infection, the wrong or frequent use of vancomycin causes the Staph bacteria to become resistant. You may need a higher dose of vancomycin to stop the growth of Staph. This is usually 4 to 8 times the minimum amount. Since vancomycin may no longer be effective, VISA may cause severe infections in the body. These may include infections of the skin, blood, lungs, heart, and brain.
  • Common signs and symptoms of VISA infection include a high fever, body weakness, cough, or troubled breathing. You may also have pus coming from an infected wound or tube. VISA infection can be diagnosed by doing cultures of wound discharge (pus) or secretions (mucus) from the nose. Cultures may also be done by using your blood, urine, or sputum (spit). Treatment may include antibiotic medicines, incision and drainage, and surgery. It is important to follow good personal hygiene like frequent hand washing to prevent the spread of VISA infection. With proper treatment, you have a greater chance of having a full recovery. Ask your caregiver for more information about these tests and treatments.



  • Keep a current list of your medicines: Include the amounts, and when, how, and why you take them. Take the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists. Use vitamins, herbs, or food supplements only as directed.
  • Take your medicine as directed: Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not working as expected. Tell him about any medicine allergies, and if you want to quit taking or change your medicine.
  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.

Ask for information about where and when to go for follow-up visits:

For continuing care, treatments, or home services, ask for more information.

Avoid the spread of germs:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Carry germ-killing gel with you. You can use the gel to clean your hands when there is no soap and water available.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth unless you have washed your hands first.
  • Always cover your mouth when you cough. Cough into a tissue or your shirtsleeve so you do not spread germs from your hands.
  • Try to avoid people who have a cold or the flu. If you are sick, stay away from others as much as possible.

Preventing the spread of VISA infection:

  • Avoid contact with other people's wounds or materials contaminated from wounds .Clean and cover boils or other wound infections with clean, dry bandages until they are healed. Place used bandages in a sealed plastic bag when throwing them away.
  • Avoid sharing eating or drinking utensils, towels, or other personal items.
  • Limit the use of antibiotics. Ask your caregiver for more information about the proper use of antibiotics.
  • Place contaminated laundry in a plastic bag and use hot water and detergents (soap) when washing them. Dry them in a clothes dryer on the hot setting.
  • Use alcohol or chlorine-based disinfectants (germ killers) when cleaning surfaces. Wear gloves, a mask, or a gown to protect yourself.
  • Wash hands often with soap and warm water. Always wash after using the toilet, after changing a child's diaper, and before preparing or serving food. Germ-killing hand lotion or gel may be used to clean hands if there is no water available.


Rest when you feel it is needed. Slowly start to do more each day. Return to your daily activities as directed.


  • You have a fever.
  • You have chills or a cough, or feel weak and achy.
  • You have increased pain, redness, or swelling around the infected area.
  • You have questions or concerns about your infection, treatment, or care.


  • You feel so dizzy that you have trouble standing up.
  • You have a fast heartbeat or chest pains.
  • You have problems eating, drinking, or breathing.
  • You have trouble breathing all of a sudden.
  • Your lips and fingernails are turning blue in color.
  • Your symptoms do not improve or are getting worse.
  • Your wound has pus coming out or a bad smell.

Learn more about Vancomycin Intermediate Staphylococcus Aureus Infection (Aftercare Instructions)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.