The Case of the Infectious Cook
Typhoid Mary Test
"the most dangerous person in New York!"
In the summer of 1906, a small epidemic broke out in the town of Oyster Bay, New York. Six occupants out of eleven were taken ill with typhoid fever, and the family called in Dr. George Soper, who had investigated a previous epidemic some three years previously. He narrowed down the cause of the infection to an outside carrier, and was soon able to establish that the family cook was the most likely suspect. Her name was Mary Mallon, and although she was not infected with Typhoid herself, she was an asymptomatic carrier. Dr. Soper led the pursuit to prevent her from transmitting the disease to others, however far from willingly cooperating, Mary continued to work much to the dismay of Soper and the health authorities. In an effort to stop Mary from infecting others, she was forcibly isolated for the next three years on an island. Referred to by the press as “Typhoid Mary”, Mallon demanded her release but the courts decided she should remain there indefinately.