"Typhoid" Mary Mallon

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By Isaac Meyer and Demetria Spinrad. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This week, we're covering the strange, sad case of Mary Mallon, one of America's most notorious killers—who never technically committed a crime. When is it illegal to spread a disease? Why did the Health Department have the power to detain people indefinitely? Does Mary deserve her infamy, or was she a victim of a system that was stacked against her from the start?

Content note: This is mostly about an epidemic of typhoid fever, but it will also touch on other disease outbreaks and US laws around quarantining people and charging people for spreading diseases. We'll be discussing the COVID-19 pandemic at the end of this episode. The death of a child is mentioned.

Show notes and sources at this link

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