Typhoid Mary

OMG, there actually was a real person behind the moniker “Typhoid Mary”. Her name was Mary Mallon, and she was quarantined in 1906 and again in 1915 after outbreaks of typhoid in places where she had worked as a cook. The latter confinement lasted for 38 years until her death in 1938. She died of a stroke, not of typhoid.

During our more recent Ebola outbreak, panicky government officials including NJ governor Chris Christie called for the confinement of individuals who had been in areas where the Ebola epidemic was raging — mainly health care workers. Under President Obama, cooler heads prevailed and the outbreak was contained without violating anyone’s civil liberties.

Who knows what would happen during a similar outbreak in Trumplandia? “Cooler heads” are not widespread in this administration.

2 thoughts on “Typhoid Mary

  1. Completely off-subject, but this reminded me of my grandmother’s story of a woman known as Paregoric Mary, in her pre-World War I Irish neighborhood in Albany, She took to consuming a wee bit too much of this medicine, which was a tincture containing 4% opium. It was prescribed for stomach troubles and remained an over the counter medicine until 1970. When I had a stomach ache as a kid, I would be given a teaspoon of paregoric followed by a teaspoon of cola syrup to get rid of the bitter taste.

  2. for Sharon: This is hilarious. In the Peace Corps we were given big bottles of paregoric pills, which we took by the handful to keep our chronic diarrhea under control. Same time frame — 1967-69. I think someone said “don’t take too much; it has narcotics in it”, but the little pills were the only thing that worked. 🙂 Happily I left them behind when I left the country to return to the U.S.

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