Louis Pasteur has long been heralded as one of the fathers of microbiology and immunology. Less known is Pasteur's vision on infection prevention and control (IPC) that drove current infection control, public health, and much of modern medicine and surgery. In this Review, we revisited Pasteur's pioneering works to assess progress and challenges in the process and technological innovation of IPC. We focused on Pasteur's far-sighted conceptualisation of the hospital as a reservoir of microorganisms and amplifier of transmission, aseptic technique in surgery, public health education, interdisciplinary working, and the protection of health services and patients. Examples from across the globe help inform future thinking for IPC innovation, adoption, scale up and sustained use.
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