germ theory


germ theory

noun

Definition of GERM THEORY

:  a theory in medicine: infections, contagious diseases, and various other conditions result from the action of microorganisms

First Known Use of GERM THEORY

1870

germ theory

noun    (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of GERM THEORY

: a theory in medicine: infections, contagious diseases, and various other conditions (as suppurative lesions) result from the action of microorganisms

germ theory

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Theory that certain diseases are caused by invasion of the body by microorganisms. Louis Pasteur, Joseph Lister, and Robert Koch are given much of the credit for its acceptance in the later 19th century. Pasteur showed that organisms in the air cause fermentation and spoil food; Lister was first to use an antiseptic to exclude germs in the air to prevent infection; and Koch first linked a specific organism with a disease (anthrax). The full implications of germ theory for medical practice were not immediately apparent after it was proven; surgeons operated without masks or head coverings as late as the 1890s.

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