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Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

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    Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

    Typhoid Mary, was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. (She harbored the extremely contagious bacteria that cause typhoid fever, Mallon never demonstrated any of its symptoms—which include fever, headaches and diarrhea).

    . Mary in quarantine.

    Although she knew she was a carrier of typhoid, Mary Mallon worked as a cook in and around New York City.

    That's how she spread the disease to more than 20 people, before she was caught and institutionalized in 1907.

    When she was released, she went right back to cooking — and infecting people. After another typhoid outbreak was traced to her, "Typhoid Mary" was quarantined on an island in the East River for the rest of her life.

    Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Cookstown, County Tyrone, in what is now Northern Ireland. She emigrated to the United States in 1883 or 1884.

    She lived with her aunt and uncle for a time and later found work as a cook for affluent families.

    Six members of wealthy banker Charles Warren’s household contracted typhoid fever while vacationing in Long Island’s Oyster Bay in the summer of 1906, Typhoid fever was viewed as a disease of the crowded slums, associated with poverty and the lack of basic sanitation.

    Concerned that the outbreak would prevent him from leasing out his summer house again, Warren’s landlord hired George Soper, a freelance sanitary engineer who had investigated other sources of typhoid fever outbreaks, to determine the cause.

    Although everything from the house’s plumbing to the local shellfish supply came up negative, the dogged Soper found the cause—Mallon, the cook who had worked for the Warrens weeks before the outbreak. Soper researched Mallon’s employment history and found that seven families for whom she had cooked since 1900 had reported cases of typhoid fever, which had resulted in the infection of 22 people and the death of one girl.

    Based on Soper’s sleuthing, the New York City Health Department took Mallon into custody in 1907 and placed her into forced confinement inside a bungalow on 16-acre North Brother Island, off the Bronx shoreline, with only a fox terrier as a companion.

    In 1910, new health commissioner Ernst Lederle agreed to release Mallon if she pledged never to work as a cook again.

    . This illustration of Typhoid Mary, breaking skulls into a skillet, appeared in a 1909 issue of The New York American.

    The health department had lost track of Mallon after her release, during which time she cooked in hotels, restaurants and institutions. After her capture, Mallon was once again confined to North Brother Island.

    Six years before her death, she was paralyzed by a stroke. On November 11, 1938, she died of pneumonia at age 69. An autopsy found evidence of live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder. Mallon's body was cremated, and her ashes were buried at Saint Raymond's Cemetery in the Bronx.
    💫 Star lover

    Re: Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

    Hi Anita, I remember reading up on Mary years ago - made me appreciate the oral history my NY Grandmother would entertain us with during nap time or as she would put it, afternoon rest period. We children used to think our Gram was full of it - she knew so much stuff - until we grew older and realized just how much she DID know and retain to pass along to us.

    What an either wicked person or simply reckless a person Mary was. Either way, she had small regard.
    Sewing mends the soul.

    Do the math; count your blessings
    Laughing is good exercise. It's like jogging on the inside. Unless we are creating we are not fully alive
    ~ Madeleine L'Engle


      Re: Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

      I remember hearing the expression "You're a regular Typhoid Mary" when I was young. (No it wasn't a reference to me LOL)
      Women are Angels. When someone break's our wings we will continue to fly-usually on a broomstick.We're flexible like that.


        Re: Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

        My allergist at home would ask at my yearly check up how little Typhoid Marys were doing. He was constantly telling me how germy kids are, and how schools were full of everything that I was allergic to. lol, I wonder if he even liked kids.
        “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.” Maya Angelou


          Re: Wednesday Trivia: Typhoid Mary

          Originally posted by KPH View Post
          My allergist at home would ask at my yearly check up how little Typhoid Marys were doing. He was constantly telling me how germy kids are, and how schools were full of everything that I was allergic to. lol, I wonder if he even liked kids.
          That's some bedside manner. What a great way to give a kid both a low self opinion and anxiety at the same time.