The raging COVID-19 has made the world look back into the various epidemic and global health care crisis it has gone through. One that stands out is the extraordinary story of Typhoid Mary.
Mary was an Irish-born cook believed to have infected 51 people with typhoid fever. She was working as a cook in the Manhattan. Between 1900 and 1907 she cooked in the homes of seven families and n every one of them people fell sick or died. Then she slipped away and found work elsewhere. The family of one victim hired a researcher called George Soper who proved Mary’s role in it. She was identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the disease. She would never get the disease herself but would never stop giving it to other people. Though it was hard to believe at that time the authorities exiled Mary to isolation facility in 1907. But Mary won her freedom in return for a promise that she wouldn’t work as a cook again.
Again after some time familiar trail of death and sickness pursued her. Authorities tracked her down again in 1915 and sent her back into isolation and lived in confinement for 23 years until her death in 1938. It was her signature dish peach ice cream that was important in the whole story. The typhoid bacterium can live in cold food but is destroyed by cooking.