The New Milford Health Department has issued a reminder to local residents about the importance of keeping your hands clean. The reminder comes on the heels of Clean Hands Week, which was Sept. 18-24.

Officials said that handwashing is the single most important thing one can do to prevent illness and the spread of illness.

The Center of Disease Control estimates that 5,000 people die each year from food-borne illness. It says 78 million become ill and between 79,000 and 96,000 die from hospital infections each year.

One of the direct links to many of those deaths is poor handwashing, according to the release from the local Health Department.