- An abnormal and persistent fear of germs. Sufferers from bacteriaphobia experience undue anxiety even though they realize that most germs are not pathogens (disease-causing germs). To avoid germs, they may repeat cleaning rituals, such as washing their hands or face. (Surgeons may do well to have a mild degree of bacteriaphobia.) "Bacteriaphobia" is derived from the Greek "bacterion" (staff) and "phobos" (fear). The Greek word for "staff" was chosen because some bacteria (bacilli) are rod-shaped, like a staff. Alternate spelling: Bacteriophobia. Alternate name: Bacillophobia.
Medical dictionary. 2011.