BBC News has a very informative piece on how bacteria are everywhere, spread by people who fail to wash their hands properly. There is also a nice box with information on Hungarian physician Ignaz Semmelweis who discovered, a century and half ago, that failure of surgeons to wash their hands after dissecting corpses was infecting new mothers in the maternity ward of a hospital in Vienna. Was he rewarded for this discovery? No. Everyone in his time ‘knew’ that infection was caused by bad air, by failure to close windows. Semmelweis’ alternative theory was roundly rejected, and he ended up committed to a mental institution.
Poo, it’s getting everywhere. Faecal bacteria are present on 26% of hands in the UK, 14% of banknotes and 10% of credit cards, according to new research carried out by hygiene experts from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM). It has been published to promote the UN’s Global Hand washing Day.
They say one of the biggest shocks is the level of germs. Findings suggest 11% of our hands are so “grossly contaminated” they are carrying as many germs as a dirty toilet bowl. It’s the same for 8% of cards and 6% of notes. We already know faecal matter can be found on one in six mobile phones.
Denise Winterman, “Handwashing: Why are the British so bad at washing their hands?“, BBC News Magazine, 15 October 2012.
The British are not the only ones who spread bacteria by failing to wash their hands when they should. Read this article and become a hand washer! There is even a box on “How to wash your hands properly”.
If this article is not enough to convince you, links are provided for more information.