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Ignaz Semmelweis
An engraved portrait of Semmelweis: a mustachioed, balding man in formal attire, pictured from the chest up.
Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis, aged 42 in 1860
copperplate engraving by Jenő Doby
Semmelweis Ignác Fülöp

(1818-07-01)July 1, 1818
Buda, Hungary
Died August 13, 1865(1865-08-13) (aged 47)
Vienna, Austrian Empire (now Austria)
Citizenship Kingdom of Hungary
Alma mater Universities of Vienna and Pest
Known for Introducing hand disinfection standards, in obstetrical clinics, from 1847
Spouse(s) Maria Weidenhoffer (1837–1910), married in 1857
Scientific career
Fields Obstetrics, surgeries

Ignaz Semmelweis (born 1818 - died 1865) was a Hungarian doctor who discovered bacteria, disease and infection. He is the father of infection control. Semmelweis observed that if the doctors washed their hands, the number of infections of puerperal fever could be reduced. For this reason, Semmelweis ordered his medical students to wash their hands before and after medical rounds. He was mocked by fellow doctors, but he could not prove his findings, because bacteria had not been discovered yet. In 1870, Robert Koch proved that bacteria can cause disease. People such as Louis Pasteur proved what is known as the germ theory of disease only after Semmelweis' death.

Semmelweis probably had Alzheimer’s disease and was put into an asylum for the insane. He died after being beaten by the staff and inmates.

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