Frequent careful handwashing is the simplest, most effective tool for decreasing the risk of many infectious diseases…

Scientists have recently reported that handwashing with soap could reduce the risk of lower respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia by 23%.

Who is Semmelweis?

In the mid-nineteenth century, Hungarian Ignaz Semmelweis postulated that doctors’ hands spread disease to the women in the childbirth wards. Septicemia after childbirth was common in mid-19th-century hospitals and was often fatal, with death rate of 10%-35%.

Despite various publications of results where hand-washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community.

In 1865, Semmelweis was committed to an asylum, where he died at age 47 after being beaten by the guards, only 14 days after he was committed. More info.

Travellers cannot afford to overlook such a simple and cost effective method of protecting their health.

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