Montreal's Santa Cabrini Hospital is closing its doors to visitors because of an outbreak to an antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The hospital will only allow visitors for special cases on compassionate grounds.

Since January the hospital has seen 65 cases of Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE).

Vancomycin is one of the last lines of defence against bacteria resistant to other antibiotics such as penicillins.

Need to know:

  • Enterococci are bacteria that can normally be treated by antibiotics
  • VRE is resistant to vancomycin, an antibiotic that treats infections resistant to other antibiotics
  • You can have VRE without being sick
  • VRE spreads from patient to patient and through contact with contaminated surfaces
  • Most VRE infections can be treated with antibiotics other than vancomycin

The hospital is currently aware of 37 cases where patients are carrying the bacteria.

Hospital spokesman Rocco Famiglietti, said the number of cases has stabilized since last week.

He said all new patients who enter the emergency room are tested for VRE.

The hospital has also increased its cleaning staff, and employees are wearing protective gloves and jackets to help prevent the spread of the bacteria.