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Definition of Bacteriaphobia

Bacteriaphobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of germs. Sufferers from bacteriaphobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize that most germs are not pathogens (disease-causing germs). To avoid germs, they may repeat cleaning rituals, such as washing their hands or face. (Surgeons may do well to have a mild degree of bacteriaphobia.)

"Bacteriaphobia" is derived from the Greek "bacterion" (staff) and "phobos" (fear). The Greek word for "staff" was chosen because some bacteria (bacilli) are rod-shaped, like a staff.

Alternate spelling: Bacteriophobia. Alternate name: Bacillophobia.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=12197
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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