One of the first people to postulate that some diseases were caused by the presence of some kind of very small 'seed' (the original meaning of 'germ') that germinated or multiplied in the body to produce the disease was Ignaz Semmelweis, a Hungarian doctor, practising in an obstetrics ward in the 1840s. He noticed that the death rate of the impoverished women attended by the nurse midwives was many times less than that of the wealthier women attended by the doctors. His observations led him to conclude that it was a matter of cleanliness. The doctors, on their schedules, went directly from the morgue to the obstetrics ward without washing their hands. When he presented his findings to fellow doctors, they discounted his theory, unable to believe in what they could not see. It wasn't until the 1880s and the work of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister that the truth of germs finally surfaced and was accepted by the scientific community.
The Germs, despite all expectations, slowly developed a sound that was extremely aggressive, hyper-competent, and highly influential -- although throughout their career, they would have a reputation as a chaotic live band.
The canonical lineup of the band was often accused of willfully skirting the boundary between genius and disaster.
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