Infection-control recommendations include the use of gowns and gloves to prevent horizontal transmission of vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). This study sought to determine whether the use of a gown and gloves gives greater protection than glove use alone against VRE transmission in a medical intensive care unit (MICU). From 1 July 1997 through 30 June 1998 and from 1 July 1999 through 31 December 1999, health care personnel and visitors were required to don gloves and gowns upon entry into rooms where there were patients infected with nosocomial pathogens. From 1 July 1998 through 30 June 1999, only gloves were required under these same circumstances. During the gown period, 59 patients acquired VRE (9.1 cases per 1000 MICU-days), and 73 patients acquired VRE during the no-gown period (19.6 cases per 1000 MICU-days; P<.01). The adjusted risk estimate indicated that gowns were protective in reducing VRE acquisition in an MICU with high VRE colonization pressure.