Ignaz Semmelweis: Why is Google honouring Hungarian physician in hand-washing Doodle?

The latest Google Doodle video features a 50 second clip of the six different stages of washing your hands. The video is accompanied by a jaunty jazz tune. And Dr Semmelweis appears to give support on the correct method of ensuring germs are no longer lingering on your hands after you scrub them with soap and water. 

Why is Google honouring Hungarian physician in hand-washing Doodle?

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the world, it is no wonder people are being advised on how to keep germs at bay.

Thoroughly washing your hands regularly throughout the day has been a key piece of advice from all health professionals on how to protect yourself and others from catching the deadly virus. 

People can carry coronavirus without realising, putting elderly people and those with underlying health problems at risk.

That is why it is vital to ensure you do not have any lingering traces of coronavirus on you.

Dr Ignaz Semmelweis was famously known as the “father of infection control”.

The Hungarian physician was known for being the first person to discover the medical benefits of hand washing. 

He was appointed after concerns grew over new mothers dying at high rates of an infection.

This was referred to at the time as “childbed fever” in hospital.

After launching an investigation, Semmelweis worked out that the cause was doctors carrying infectious diseases on their hands.

They most likely got this from operating rooms to the new mothers. 


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After his hand disinfection initiative, “mortality rates in the first division dropped from 18.27 to 1.27 percent, and in March and August of 1848 no woman died in childbirth in his division,” according to Encyclopaedia Britannica

However, it wasn’t until after Semmelweis’s death that his beliefs were validated by other medical professionals.

This occured through the widespread acceptance of the “germ theory of disease. 

And now the Google Doodle is offering more adivce from the World Health Organisation on this issue. 

The WHO recommends people wash their hands for 20 seconds.

This will ensure all germs are thoroughly removed and your hands will hopefully be free of disease. 

It comes as the number of deaths continue to rise across the world.

The UK death toll has hit more than 144 so far. 

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