Typhoid Mary was an asymptomatic carrier of the typhoid fever pathogen who was suspected of causing multiple outbreaks of typhoid fever. Born Mary Mallon, she became known as “Typhoid Mary” after she was suspected of infecting 51 people with the typhoid pathogen, resulting in the deaths of three. She was born in Ireland and immigrated to the United States as a teenager in search of work. She was a tall, well-built girl who believed she could build a good life for herself in the United States. She was overjoyed when she was hired to cook for a wealthy New York banker’s large family. However, something strange occurred shortly after she began working for them—multiple members of the household contracted a fatal fever and died. Mary resigned from her job, terrified that she, too, might contract the fatal illness. She, on the other hand, remained healthy and continued to cook for another family. Strangely enough, members of this family, as well as those for whom Mary cooked, fell ill as well. She was later identified as a carrier of the typhoid fever pathogen and isolated by public health authorities.
Childhood & Adolescence
Mary Mallon was born in Cookstown, Ireland on 23 September 1869. She immigrated to the United States from Ireland in 1883 at the age of 15.
She spent some time in the United States with her aunt and uncle while she looked for work.
Career of Mary
As an immigrant woman without specialized vocational training, she faced a limited number of career options. However, because she was tall, well-built, and a diligent worker, she was able to secure work as a domestic help.
She was blessed with exceptional cooking abilities and quickly found work as a cook in a variety of homes. Additionally, she earned more money as a cook.
She worked as a cook for a family in Mamaroneck, New York, in 1900. Several residents became ill with typhoid fever within two weeks of her employment.
The following year, she relocated to Manhattan, where she quickly found work due to her excellent culinary skills. However, some people became ill with fever and diarrhoea in this location as well, and one person died.
Later, a lawyer hired her to work at his home. In an odd coincidence, seven of the eight people for whom she cooked developed fever.
In 1906, she found work as a cook at the Oyster Bay, Long Island, home of a wealthy New York banker. Six of the house’s eleven inhabitants fell ill shortly after she began cooking for them.
Their illness began with a headache and progressed to include abdominal discomfort and a high fever. Following this incident, she changed jobs once more.
However, in late 1906, one family hired George Soper, a sanitary engineer with the New York City Department of Health whose specialty was studying typhoid fever epidemics, to investigate the outbreaks.
Soper conducted research on the subject and published his findings in June 1907 in the ‘Journal of the American Medical Association.’
He connected the Typhoid fever cases to Mary, who had been described as a tall, well-built woman in excellent health by her previous employers.
He sought out Mary but she refused to speak with him when he suggested that she might have been the source of the illnesses. She refused to believe him, claiming to be in perfect health and unable to believe that a healthy person could spread disease.
The New York City Health Department arrested Mary after concluding that she was indeed the source of the outbreaks. By this time, her case had garnered widespread media attention, and she was dubbed “Typhoid Mary.”
Eventually, the New York State Commissioner of Health agreed to release her on the condition that she immediately cease working as a cook and take reasonable precautions to avoid spreading typhoid.
Upon her release, she began working as a laundress. However, because this occupation paid less than cooking, she changed her name to “Mary Brown” and resumed her previous career.
She worked as a cook for the next five years, frequently changing jobs to avoid being apprehended. Again, she was responsible for outbreaks of disease wherever she worked.
In early 1915, a large outbreak of typhoid was reported at New York City’s Sloane Hospital for Women, with 25 people infected and two deaths. Investigators discovered Mary worked as a cook here and immediately began looking for her.
In March 1915, she was arrested and quarantined on North Brother Island. She was later permitted to work as a technician in the island’s laboratory, where she washed bottles.
Personal History and Legacies
She spent the remainder of her life in forced isolation following her quarantine. In 1932, she suffered a stroke and died on November 11, 1938, of pneumonia at the age of 69.
Her gallbladder was found to contain live typhoid bacteria during an autopsy. She passed away as a spinster.
Estimated Net Worth
Typhoid is one of the wealthiest chefs and is ranked as one of the most popular chefs. Typhoid Mary’s net worth is estimated to be around $11 million, according to our analysis, Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.