The Pasteur medal was awarded to Professor Didier Pittet for his lifetime achievements in infection control research

The Swedish Society of Medicine (SSM) has decided to award the Pasteur medal to Professor Didier Pittet, director of the Infection Control Programme at the Geneva University Hospitals and Faculty of Medicine.

The Pasteur medal is awarded every ten years and rewards basic discoveries in bacteriology in the spirit and tradition of Pasteur. Professor Didier Pittet is awarded for “his lifetime achievements in infection control research and dedicated leadership in implementing multimodal infection prevention strategies on a worldwide scale”.

– It is a great honor for the Swedish Society of Medicine to reward Professor Pittet for his outstanding contributions in the field of infectious diseases, and public and global health, says Tobias Alfvén, president of SSM.

Traditionally, the Swedish Society of Medicine organizes a seminar together with the laureate, to be held in conjunction with the prize ceremony. Due to the pandemic, such arrangement is unfortunately not possible. Therefore, SSM plan for a digital seminar in 2021 on issues related to Professor Pittet's work in infection control.

The Pasteur medal
The Pasteur medal was first struck in 1892 and given to Louis Pasteur on his 70th birthday. The medal has since the year of 1900 been awarded every tenth year to a scientist who has made significant contributions in the areas of bacteriology or hygiene.

More about Professor Pittet
Professor Pittet is the recipient of several national and international honours including a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) awarded by Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II for services to the prevention of healthcare-associated infection in the UK (2007), the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America Lectureship for his contribution to infection control and healthcare epidemiology (2008) and the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases’ Award for Excellence (2009).

Professor Pittet is co-author of more than 500 publications in peer-reviewed journals and 50 textbook chapters. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals and is an editorial consultant of the Lancet. Professor Pittet current research interests include the epidemiology and prevention of healthcare-associated infections, methods for improving compliance with barrier precautions and hand hygiene practices, as well as innovative methods for improving the patient care and safety. He is also involved in research on the epidemiology of infectious diseases, and public and global health issues.

In 2004, Pittet was approached by the WHO World Alliance of Patient Safety to lead the First Global Patient Safety Challenge under the banner "Clean Care is Safer Care"( mandate was to galvanise global commitment to tackle health-care associated infection, which had been identified as a significant area of risk for patients in all United Nations Member States. Pittet proposed that WHO Guidelines for Hand Hygiene in Health Care be developed under his leadership in consultation with a large group of international experts. The final version of the Guidelines ( was published in 2009 together with a multimodal improvement strategy, based on the successful model developed in Geneva and published in The Lancetin 2000.

Over 20 years of experience with culture change at the University of Geneva Hospitals constitute the solid scientific basis of the work of Didier Pittet and this experience and leadership has permitted him to lead international strategies at the healthcare setting and national levels in Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Iran, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, UK, USA, and various countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle and Far East, and Central and South America. The experience of his team in engaging nations and healthcare settings worldwide in a universal commitment to patient safety is unique. (


In Swedish
Svenska Läkaresällskapet har beslutat att Pastuermedaljen 2020 tilldelas professor Didier Pittet för hans livslånga forskningsgärning inom vårdhygienområdet och dedikerade ledarskap vid implementeringen av multimodala infektionspreventiva strategier på världsbasis.

Om Pasteurfonden
Pasteurs fond, bildad år 1892 genom insamling inom och utom Svenska Läkaresällskapet såsom uttryck av beundran och erkänsla för vad Louis Pasteur genom sina upptäckter gjort för den medicinska vetenskapen och den lidande mänskligheten, har till ändamål att främja forskningen på bakteriologiens och hygienens områden. Pasteurmedaljen delas ut var  tionde år och belönar grundläggande upptäckter inom bakteriologin i Pasteurs anda och tradition.

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