ContributionReduced deaths from puerperal (childbed) fever by instituting disinfection of physicians' hands.
NotesReported in 1850. Disinfection was by careful washing of the hands in a solution of chloride of lime after examining any patient (in the maternity clinic). According to the English translation in Brock (1961), the purpose was to destroy "any putrefying organic atoms adhering to the fingers, as well as to remove the odor of these completely." Semmelweis was thus targeting the causative objects that were being transmitted, but did not understand their microbial nature. Extensive literature on the subject.
Pathogen ClassGeneral

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