Germ theory

1878 Germ theory

The book of science

Tom Sharp

Louis Pasteur bacteriology

Germ theory



According to the United Nations, improving sanitation reduces cholera, worms, diarrhoea, pneumonia, malnutrition, and other maladies that cause disease and the death of millions of people. In 2008, a child died every 20 seconds because of poor sanitation. Improving sanitation for a people improves their economy, their dignity and social development, and their environment.

The developed world has overused antimicrobial agents, breeding drug-resistant microbes to the point where it is barely able to sterilize hospital operating rooms. And we have no cure for herpes or dengue fever.

Microorganisms (bacteria, fungi including yeast, algae, protozoa, rotifers planarians, and virus) are not all bad; they also ferment our beer and wine and give our cheese and yogurt their distinctive tastes and textures. The Rhizobium bacteria convert nitrogen to a form that can be used by plants. The Penicillium fungi gave us our first anibiotic to combat harmful microbes.

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