HPA and 2,147 children set a new Guinness World Record

Stages world's largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues

The UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) is very proud and pleased that the e–Bug Team, which is part of the HPA, in collaboration with School Councils UK has been successful in setting a new Guinness World Record for the largest simultaneous hand hygiene lesson at multiple venues.

To be successful in setting the new record at least 1,000 participants across 10 venues had to take part in the lesson starting at 10am on 15 October 2012. This particular day was chosen as it marked Global Handwashing Day. The day aims to raise awareness about the benefits of handwashing with soap, which is the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent diarrhoeal and acute respiratory infections.

The record breaking challenge e-Bug was set was truly smashed as a total of 2,147 children from 21 schools from around the UK took part.

Soap and water really are small miracle workers as soap washes away many viruses and bacteria that we find on our hands

A key feature of the lesson was that teachers and children use fun interactive resources such as the ‘snot runway’ to show how far a sneeze can travel. Pretend germs are used to show how easily real germs can pass from person-to-person in a sneeze and on our hands.

Dr Cliodna McNulty, head of the HPA’s primary care unit where e-Bug was developed, said: ‘We are so pleased to have set a new Guinness World Record and I would like to thank all the pupils, teachers and volunteers who helped us make it such a success. Local communities really came together to make this happen and we have had lots of positive feedback from everyone who took part; getting the record is the icing on the cake.

‘The spread of infections and so many illnesses could be avoided if everyone washed their hands properly and more often. Soap and water really are small miracle workers as soap washes away many viruses and bacteria that we find on our hands. Teaching children this essential practice early in life will hopefully lead to good habits as they grow older.’

The lesson and all the teaching tools had been designed by e-Bug, which is a Europe-wide antibiotic and hygiene teaching resource led by the HPA.

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