Trivia Minute March 27, 2015

March 27: Typhoid Mary

by Marcus Michelson
Mary Mallon in a hospital bed. She was forcibly quarantined as a carrier of typhoid fever in 1907 for three years and then again from 1915 until her death in 1938. (New York American photo)
Mary Mallon, foreground, in a hospital bed. Mallon was forcibly quarantined as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever from 1907 to 1910 and then again from 1915 until her death in 1938. (New York American photo via Wikipedia)
Mary Mallon, also known as Typhoid Mary, was quarantined on March 27, 1915.
Here are a few things you might not know about Typhoid Mary, the first person identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever:
One: She worked as a cook for eight families in New York before her first quarantine, seven of the families had outbreaks of typhoid fever while she worked there. Following that quarantine, she returned to work as a cook and infected dozens more people.
Two: She admitted to poor hand-washing hygiene. In addition to refusing to wash her hands, she refused to stop working as a cook and changed her name at least once to continue working.
Three: She spent the last 23 of her life in quarantine on North Brother Island, located in the East River between The Bronx and Rikers Island. She died in 1935, six years after suffering a paralyzing stroke. An autopsy found she had live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder.
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