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Home News centre National Press Releases 2013 Press Releases ›  2,147 children help the HPA to set a new Guinness World Record

2,147 children help the HPA to set a new Guinness World Record

24 January 2013

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is very proud and pleased to announce 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 ten venues had to take part in the lesson starting at 10am on 15 October, 2012.

This particular day was chosen as it marks 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 were set was truly smashed as a total of 2,147 children from 21 schools took part from around the UK.

A key feature of the lesson is 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. To see this lesson and more visit [external link].


Notes to editors

  1. Details about e-Bug can be found on its website: [external link]
  2. The Health Protection Agency is an independent UK organisation that was set up by the government in 2003 to protect the public from threats to their health from infectious diseases and environmental hazards. In April 2013, subject to the usual approvals procedures for establishing new bodies, the Health Protection Agency will become part of a new organisation called Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health. To find out more, visit our website: or follow us on Twitter @HPAuk or ‘Like’ us on Facebook at [external link].
  3. For more information please contact the national HPA press office at Colindale on 0208 327 7901 or email Out of hours the duty press officer can be contacted on 0208 200 4400.

Last reviewed: 23 January 2013