Typhoid Mary - Legacy

Legacy

Exactly how many people were infected or killed by her is not known. She refused to cooperate with health authorities, withheld information about her past, and used different pseudonyms when she changed cities. Three deaths have been definitely attributed to her, with estimates running as high as 50.

Mallon was the first healthy typhoid carrier to be identified by medical science, and there was no policy providing guidelines for handling the situation. Some difficulties surrounding her case stemmed from Mallon's vehement denial of her possible role, as she refused to acknowledge any connection between her working as a cook and the typhoid cases. Mallon maintained that she was perfectly healthy, had never had typhoid fever, and could not be the source. Public-health authorities determined that permanent quarantine was the only way to prevent Mallon from causing significant future typhoid outbreaks.

Other healthy typhoid carriers identified in the first quarter of the 20th century include Tony Labella, an Italian immigrant, presumed to have caused over 100 cases (with five deaths); an Adirondack guide dubbed Typhoid John, presumed to have infected 36 people (with two deaths); and Alphonse Cotils, a restaurateur and bakery owner.

Today, Typhoid Mary is a generic term for anyone who, knowingly or not, spreads something undesirable.

Read more about this topic:  Typhoid Mary

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