An outbreak of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE) began at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in May 1993. As of September 1995, we had a total of 253 patients infected or colonized with VRE, with consequent increasing demand for private rooms. We analyzed results of surveillance cultures for VRE of 49 patients known to be colonized or infected with VRE. Of these, 34 (70%) were classified as persistent carriers, defined as patients with at least three consecutively positive cultures from any site taken over at least a 2-week period. The length of carriage varied from 19 to 303 days (median, 41 days); 11 patients were converters, defined as patients with three consecutive negative cultures from all previously colonized sites taken over a 3-week period. These patients were free of VRE for 39 to 421 days (median, 142 days). Four were recolonizers after they were documented to be clear of VRE for 33 to 106 days. VRE carriage tends to be prolonged, and hospitalization of patients with VRE will require continued isolation and contact precautions for control of transmission.