'Game of Thrones' gives nod to hand hygiene in season premiere

Hand hygiene made an unexpected cameo in HBO's season premiere of "Game of Thrones" on Sunday.

The nod to hand hygiene came in the form of protective rubbery-looking gloves that shielded the hands of character Sam Tarly as he cleaned and emptied chamber pots in a hospital-like setting. The character also wore the protective gloves as he assisted in an autopsy and weighed organs extracted from the cadaver.

"It's an unexpected embrace of hand hygiene, previously not much appreciated on the 'Game of Thrones,'" Kent Sepkowitz, MD, an infectious disease specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, wrote in an article for Market Watch. "We have seen all manner of blood and guts and, other than wiping a sword clean (the better to stab you with), very little concern about maintenance of sterile techniques."

Dr. Sepkowitz said he hopes the motif of hygiene and contagion will develop into a major theme for the season as another scene in the premiere hinted toward the possibility greyscale — the most dreaded infectious disease in Westeros — may play a pivotal role moving forward.

"As America debates the future of healthcare, perhaps the denizens of Westeros will spend much of season [seven] thinking about health maintenance and delivery, even max lifetime deductibles, as infection, prevention and remedy become the talk of the seven kingdoms," wrote Dr. Sepkowitz. "An infectious disease specialist can dream, can't he?"

To read Dr. Sepkowitz's complete article in Market Watch, click here

More articles on infection control: 
Study: HAIs due to gram-negative bacteria, MRSA up death risk significantly 
CDC tallies 400+ new Salmonella infections related to backyard poultry since June 
2 children dead in E. Coli outbreak at Utah, Arizona border

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