FRANCO R. CLARA, M.D.
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To the editor: I wish to offer a comment stimulated by the recent letter in your journal on Semmelweiss and handwashing (Ann Intern Med 85:398, 1976).
Ignaz Philipp Semmelweiss (1818-1865) had a precursor who anticipated his idea that handwashing could have prevented transmissible disease. This was Guiseppe Alessandro Giannini (1774-1818), who succeeded in arresting the extension of an epidemic of typhus exanthematicus by introducing in 1807 isolation, disinfection, and hand-washing with diluted acetic acid after every contact with the patient at the Ospedale Maggiore, Milano (Italy).
Giannini, out of his experiences with the jennerian vaccine (1799-1800), came to the conclusion
CLARA FR. Giannini, Semmelweiss, and Handwashing. Ann Intern Med. ;86:241. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-86-2-241_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1977;86(2):241.
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