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This term comes from Greek, hygieia, the goddess of health, which was depicted as a young woman with a snake around her arm or as a woman who offered a vessel with water to a snake. Snakes were considered as holy animals of the Earth gods, transmitting the health and power of the goddess if humans sleep inside her temple. In the eighteenth century, hygiene became a special field of human and veterinary medicine that provides information on how transmission of viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites can be avoided. See works of famous people such as Ignaz Semmelweis (1818–1865), the father of obligatory handwashing, or Koch, Robert (1843–1910) or Max von Pettenkofer (1818–1901).

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Correspondence to Heinz Mehlhorn .

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© 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Mehlhorn, H. (2016). Hygiene. In: Mehlhorn, H. (eds) Encyclopedia of Parasitology. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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