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As It Happened -

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(generated from captions) there is no hiding At the dawn of the 20th century, It's our obligation to take you... Where we going? DRAMATIC MUSIC

at Oyster Bay, Long Island, In this luxurious vacation home August 1906. Keep going! we still face today. and raise challenging questions Her story will make history They call her 'Typhoid Mary'. Miss Mallon, please! Get out of my kitchen. that must be stopped. you know, this pestilential entity she is "a human culture tube", - I love this phrase - They called her a servant named Mary Mallon. to an unsuspecting Irish immigrant... This knowledge will lead them by invisible microbes or germs. that disease is caused health officials come to understand Only within the last 20 years have I could not find anything wrong. I was disappointed. Try as I would, that confounds the experts. How it got here is a mystery of a wealthy banker. strikes the household A deadly disease, typhoid fever, becomes vulnerable. But suddenly this privileged enclave to escape the city. a place upper-crust New Yorkers go is another world altogether, Oyster Bay, Long Island, But not here. and diphtheria were endemic. Tuberculosis, whooping cough intestinal diseases, of diarrhoeas. MAN: Children were dying of Infectious disease is out of control. Conditions are horrific. with poor immigrants. The city's slums are overflowing And with good reason. for the protection of public health. with personal and property rights in the way of interfering that a Board of Health cannot do There is very little Department of Health. from New York City's newly powerful

can be severe - The symptoms of typhoid of typhoid fever every year. there were about 4000 new cases In New York City alone of the 20th century. and in the early part especially in the 19th century and in other urban areas, visitor in New York City Typhoid fever was a fairly common kill thousands each year. and typhoid fever diphtheria, tuberculosis Infectious diseases like smallpox, even basic sanitation. the tenements lack to city water or sewers, With few connections It's even more crowded than Calcutta. is New York City's Lower East Side. in the world the most crowded neighbourhood At the turn of the 20th century, with crowded, poor neighbourhoods. which was often associated one would expect to see typhoid, It wasn't the sort of area strike this wealthy community? How could a disease of the slums and finally, the gardener. the mother, another daughter... then two maids, became ill, First, the youngest daughter is extremely contagious. Typhoid fever came down with the disease. and six members of the household was struck by typhoid fever, but this individual family no one else in Oyster Bay, This individual family, out on the island. and came to summer that brought servants with them This was a family in this exclusive seaside resort. for his family expected when he rented a house banker to the Vanderbilts, Charles Warren, This is the last thing is try to bring down her fever. all anyone can do but without a cure She has the best care, is gravely ill with typhoid fever. a young girl, Margaret Warren,

It isn't. with sewage. to see if the bay is polluted They check the local shellfish It doesn't. the drinking water. to see if it contaminates and put dye in the toilet in the house They suspect the plumbing by contaminated food or drink. They know typhoid fever is caused Experts are called in to investigate. it's gotta be one of them." "the lady who sells shellfish, maybe some bad dairy, "Let's find the dirty, the poor, for the usual suspects. They started looking for an explanation. Everybody started looking around is terrifying. the threat of a typhoid epidemic President Teddy Roosevelt summers, In Oyster Bay, where even to prevent this from spreading? What can we do people with specific diseases? What can we do once we diagnose under the microscope? This focused on, what can we see was tremendously exciting. the new bacteriology, The new science, devoted to public health. first bacteriology laboratory New York City set up the country's In 1892, tract and are shed in the faeces. bacteria that grow in the intestinal comes from 'Salmonella typhi', Typhoid fever cause disease. microbes invisible to the naked eye, by proving that bacteria, electrified the world scientist Louis Pasteur 30 years earlier, is no longer a mystery. But the cause of the disease doctors just treated the symptoms. and there were no antibiotics, in the early 20th century When people had typhoid One out of ten dies of the disease. diarrhoea and delirium. weeks of fever, headache,

had done their work thoroughly. Try as I would, I could not find anything wrong. So I turned my attention to the people in the house. This gave the key to the situation. Finally, he asked the question of one member of the household, "Who else was in this house that I didn't talk to?" And one of them remembered they'd had a cook that was no longer with the family. SOPER: The first investigators like typhoid were being spread. and understand how diseases to trace the disease outbreaks about the ability to trace diseases, Soper was excited It's detective work. of the earlier investigation. Soper begins by reviewing the results he did, so he was obsessed. He was not going to give up until He wanted to find the cause. and would not let go. who got his teeth into a problem George Soper was somebody burn it to the ground. and, with the consent of the owner, of communicable diseases out of a house with a history typhoid patients and their families I had the temerity to move As an undergraduate, of experience with typhoid fever. By 1907, I had had a great deal is confident and ambitious. 37-year-old George Soper the source of disease. known for his ability to track down about a freelance civil engineer That winter, the Thompsons learn could never rent their house again. if they didn't solve this, they the Thompsons, were afraid The family who owned the house, hangs over the house. a cloud of disease recover, Though the Oyster Bay victims remains a mystery. The source of the outbreak It, too, is free of bacteria. in case it is contaminated. They examine the milk supply

Knowing it takes up to three weeks after exposure to become sick with the disease, Soper uncovers his first clue. I found that the family had changed cooks on August 4th, about three weeks before the epidemic broke out. All the patients were infected after the cook's arrival. The way that a cook who was infected with the typhoid bacillus would transmit the disease, is there would probably be some typhoid bacillus they got onto their hands in the bathroom. To prevent the transmission of typhoid, a lot of brushing and scrubbing was involved, meaning under the nails, no jewellery. We're talking a vigorous and abrasive scrubbing. Soper also knows that bacteria can survive on uncooked food only. SOPER: On a certain Sunday she prepared a dessert of which everybody present was extremely fond. This was ice-cream with fresh peaches cut up in it. I suppose no better way could be found for a cook to clean her hands of microbes and infect a family. The cook is a 37-year-old Irish immigrant who works for wealthy families in New York. Before God, and in the eyes of decent men, my name is Mary Mallon, and I have lived a decent and upright life. Soper sets out to find the cook. The employment agency that placed her with the Warrens does not know where she is but directs him to some of her previous employers. What he discovers astounds him. In 10 years, she is known to have worked for eight families, and in six of these, typhoid had occurred. How was this possible? Has Mary been spreading typhoid bacteria for years without ever appearing to be sick? Soper remembers reading a paper written four years earlier by German scientist Robert Koch. Koch had found a baker who was not ill but who spread typhoid germs, a so-called 'healthy' carrier of disease. Could this be the case with Mary Mallon? Soper had read that literature and thought he was on the cutting edge of medical science and history. If Soper is right, the cook would be the first American identified as a healthy carrier of typhoid fever. It would be a major discovery and make his career. I think Soper is very excited by this possibility. He sees it as a scientific puzzle that he is the detective for, and he's going to sleuth out and win the prize. To prove his case, Soper needs specimens from the cook. In March 1907, he learns Mary is working for a family on Park Avenue. Typhoid too is already in residence. A chambermaid has just been taken to the hospital and the family's only child is in critical condition. Mary helps nurse the girl. There you go, my darling. Oh, I know. Just hold on in there. Just hold on. It was at this house that I had my first interview with Mary. I supposed she would be glad to know the truth. I thought I could count on her cooperation. Soper's account of their meeting is almost theatrical. Miss Mary Mallon? I'm Mary Mallon. My name is Dr George Soper. I've been looking for you. I was hired to track you down. Track me down? It appears you are the unwitting cause of the typhoid outbreak at Oyster Bay last summer. Are you mad? I must get specimens from you of urine, faeces and blood. I've never been sick in my life. I've never had typhoid. Miss Mallon, you contain within your body typhoid fever germs. When you visit the toilet, the germs get on your fingers, then the food. Are you suggesting that I don't wash my hands? BOURDAIN: Soper claims the meeting ended badly when Mary picked up a meat fork and threatened to stab him with it. Get out of my kitchen. Please... Don't come back. Be reasonable. I don't want to see you here again! I think he makes her sound a lot more fearsome than she was, simply to explain the fact that she scared the hell out of him. He unleashed a violent temper in her, by what he thought was a mild request, reasonable request, a scientific request. She sees it as the exact opposite of that. Soper did not mention the families where I've worked where there was no typhoid. He didn't see fit to mention the family I lived with when out of work where I shared a room with children without giving them typhoid. Mary had no reason to think she could have communicated typhoid to anybody. The concept that if you're sick with a particular disease you can give it to somebody else, is fairly new. Why would you believe all of a sudden scientists telling you that invisible germs that you can't even see, that you've never heard of before, are causing all these diseases that you've seen for decades? Like most people of her time, Mary Mallon does not understand the cause of disease. In the 19th century, you had this idea about disease, that it came from filth. Filth was somehow a moral statement about your community. So the filthier your community, the more subject you were to having what were called 'miasmas' arise. People thought illness came from mysterious sewer gases, miasmas... We're not far from evil spirits. Miasmas and the filth that caused them were thought to be concentrated in the tenements overflowing with immigrants. With the population doubling every decade, city services were unable to cope. It's a city that's being traversed by 150 to 200,000 horses. And, of course, basic public health fact number one is that each horse gives off 25 pounds of manure a day... times 200,000 horses, times 365 days in which the manure may or may not be picked up. So the city was really filthy. Uncollected garbage, animal carcasses, back alley privies, clogged sewers and household waste made conditions unbearable. Cleaning up the city became a moral crusade. In 1895, a Department of Sanitation was created proclaiming "Cleanliness is next to Godliness." It recruited an army of street cleaners - the White Wings. There were parades of these guys. They would march down Fifth Avenue. It's almost like a military exercise. At the same time, public health is shifting its focus from brooms to bacteriology. George Soper is part of that change. George Soper was on the cutting edge of the new science, but he's coming from an older field, sanitation, that he is in some sense trying to leave behind. Having Mary Mallon deemed a typhoid carrier would lead to a new kind of respect, a new credibility in the science of bacteriology. I discovered that Mary was spending the evenings at a rooming house on Third Avenue below 33rd Street, with a disreputable-looking man named Briehof who had a room on the top floor, to whom she was taking food. He kept his headquarters during the day in a saloon. I got to be well acquainted with him. He took me to see the room. I should not care to see another like it. BOURDAIN: Soper describes it as a horrifyingly squalid, fetid, evil apartment with a menacing, mangy-looking, probably dangerous dog. You know, Briehof is this degenerate alcoholic. This is class war with all its prejudices at its purest. The new generation of public health people had a kind of condescension to the poor. You have this mix of a belief in bacteriology, a belief that there are germs, and embedded in that is a belief that the immigrant is a source of real infection and danger. Soper made some arrangement with Briehof, the boyfriend. He somehow turned Briehof. He got Briehof to tell him when Mary was going to be visiting the apartment next. Good evening, Miss Mallon. What are you doing here? Miss Mallon, this is my assistant, Dr Hoobler. We hope you'll come with us. I've already told you. I'm doing nothing for you. Miss Mallon, I believe you are making people sick and caused typhoid outbreaks in many families you've worked for. Nobody is claiming you did it intentionally, but we need to have these specimens to understand this illness. I've nursed those people that were sick. I've never had typhoid - how could I give it to them? Please come with us and we can be certain. I can't believe you followed me in the streets. You've come to my place of work, and now my home. How did you find... His interpersonal skills were not as good as his epidemiological skills. He tracked her down. He should have left the interview to someone else. Go. Both of you. Get out of here. Go. Get out. She threw him out again, swearing apparently the whole way, and also protesting her innocence, still thinking "Why is this man harassing me?" I have never had typhoid fever in my life. I have always been healthy. The contention that I am a perpetual menace in the spread of typhoid germs is not true. WOMAN: These Irish immigrant women were tough. I mean, they had lived a life of such deprivation in Ireland. They came into a society that vilified them, that associated them with every negative stereotype - stupid, drunken, dirty... that they were unfit for participation in the American... sort of mainstream. They had to be tough. Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in County Tyrone, one of the poorest regions of Ireland. Life in County Tyrone in the years Mary was growing up was really harsh. Every year there would have been times of famine. She would have grown up eating primarily potatoes. There were no plates, no forks. It was a very grim existence. WALZER LEAVITT: She came to this country in 1883, alone, as a teenager. She moved in with her aunt and uncle in New York City. Her aunt and uncle then died, and she always described herself later as "alone in America". She probably put in her time on a laundry, seamstress work, cleaning, hauling coal, all the usual lower echelon tasks. So it was quite a climb. She had learnt how to cook well, how to run a kitchen well, and apparently was good at what she did. She was hired again and again by very good families. Cook was the highest rung of the pecking order among servants. And she was often not just cook, but she was really the kind of manager of the entire enterprise and would have been the most trusted member of the staff. Mary's employers are unaware that their cook may have brought typhoid fever into their home. I felt a good deal of responsibility for the case. Under suitable conditions, Mary might start a great epidemic. But Soper alone does not have the authority to force Mary to cooperate. Typhoid fever, smallpox, influenza, diphtheria, tuberculosis... The man leading the charge against these scourges is Hermann Biggs, New York City's Health Commissioner. Biggs is committed to wiping out disease using science and the tools of public health. In this crusade, workers have the right to march into tenements to vaccinate people, confine the infected to their houses and use force to quarantine those who will not comply on islands in New York Harbor. This is the power needed to confront Mary Mallon. I laid the facts concerning Mary's history before Dr Hermann Biggs, with the suggestion she be taken into custody and her specimens examined. Dr Soper asked to have an inspector sent to get specimens from Mary. I was the inspector assigned this seemingly simple task. Trained as a physician, Dr Josephine Baker is one of the Department of Health's roving inspectors. Of all the things that people did in the story of Mary Mallon, picking a woman seemed like a really smart, sensible, human move. Baker came from a fairly well-off family. She was very committed to the poor and to improving the health of the poor. However, she had nothing kind to say about those she worked among. Yet she was committing her life to them. BAKER: The heat, the smells, the squalor made Hell's Kitchen something not to be believed. Its residents were largely Irish, incredibly shiftless, wholly lacking in any ambition, and dirty to an unbelievable degree. I climbed stair after stair, knocked on door after door, met drunk after drunk, filthy mother after filthy mother and dying baby after dying baby. In the home where Mary Mallon works, the daughter dies of typhoid fever. Mary must be taken in for testing. I stationed one policeman in the front of the house, another on the nearest side street, had an ambulance waiting around the corner, and with a third policeman at my elbow, I knocked at the servants' entrance. Miss Mallon, the Health Department has sent me to take you with us. I'm going nowhere! Officer! Mary sees her, brandishes a fork again, supposedly.

Mary goes on the lam, tries to get away with police searching everywhere. Has Mary Mallon come through here? The rest of the servants denied knowing anything about her or where she was. Even in my distress, I liked that loyalty. She's disappeared. We went through every nook and cranny. It was utter defeat. Then one of the policemen with me caught sight of a tiny scrap of blue calico caught in a door in a back hallway. Several ash cans were heaped up in front of it. Mary, I am under instructions to bring you in to take samples. I'm going nowhere with you! Mary, you have typhoid germs. We will not hurt you. WALZER LEAVITT: They pull Mary Mallon out, scratching and screaming and yelling. No! Let me go! It takes the five police officers to get her into the ambulance. And Josephine Baker sits on her in the ambulance the whole way to Willard Parker Hospital where they're taking her. It was like being in a cage with an angry lion. HORSES NEIGH AND GALLOP Mary is taken to Willard Parker Hospital, an infectious disease facility for the poor. There's a photograph of Mary Mallon in bed at Willard Parker Hospital, and she is in a room with a lot of other people. Who knows if they have typhoid or something? Why she is in bed since she's not sick? Being brought to Willard Parker was, in some sense, a statement about Mary's worth that she'd have understood clearly. She would have said "Oh, my God! How dare they?" This was a real kind of insult to her. I've committed no crime and I am treated like an outcast, a criminal. It is unjust, outrageous, uncivilised. And it is incredible that in a Christian community a defenceless woman can be treated in this manner. At New York City's pioneering Bacteriology Laboratory, scientists test Mary's specimens using the most advanced tools and techniques. Samples are placed in an incubator to see if bacteria grow. The results are unambiguous. The hospital's laboratory speedily proved that Mary was as dangerous as Dr Soper had suspected. Her stools were a living culture of typhoid bacilli. George Soper knew all along from his work that she COULD carry typhoid fever. This was proof that she DID carry typhoid fever. Soper has made a major breakthrough in the battle against disease, proving that Mary harbours the bacteria even though she insists she has never had typhoid fever. Mary Mallon did have typhoid fever, but she had a very mild case of it. She never knew she had typhoid or was that sick. She probably thought she had a cold or flu. In most cases of typhoid fever, the body is host to a microbial battle where there is a clear winner. If the bacteria win, the patient dies. If the immune system wins, the typhoid bacteria die. But in the case of a healthy carrier, there is no clear winner. The immune system protects the body from infection but the bacteria continue to live. Mary, with no symptoms at all, is as contagious as someone sick with the disease. The press gets hold of the story immediately in 1907, but they don't get much. The Health Department is trying to keep a lid on the fact that they are holding, against her will, a healthy 37-year-old woman. Still, the story makes front page news. To protect Mary's identity, the Department of Health gives the newspaper a false name. But Mary cannot escape a visit from George Soper. He is anxious to learn when she was exposed to typhoid and how often she has passed it on. She, of course, immediately sees him and sees red. She doesn't want him there, she's not talking to him. But he's talking to her and he has learned a little bit from their first encounters, and he's trying to be reasonable. "Mary," I said, "I've come to talk with you "and see if, between us, we cannot get you out of here. "You wouldn't be here if you hadn't been so obstinate. "Throw off your wrong-headed idea and be reasonable. "Answer my questions and I'll try to get you out. "I'll write a book about the case. I guarantee you'll get the profits." BOURDAIN: This is forward thinking. Nowadays, you walk out of a burning building and somebody's offering you a book deal - and a film deal. Maybe he was ahead of his time. He even offered her 100 per cent, which is quite reasonable. On the other hand, I can understand why she turned down the deal. She gets up, marches to the toilet, slams the door and doesn't come out until he's gone. The door slammed. There was no need of my waiting. What should health officials do? They can't let Mary return to cooking but how can they stop her? Typically, poor people with infectious diseases are sent to a quarantine island... and that's what they do with Mary. Without trial, without representation, without any kind of due process, the law allowed you to be plucked off the street and deposited on a plague island for as long as they felt like keeping you there. Civil liberties have to sometimes be bent for the public good. And I think that, while it may be perceived as a conflict, most serious people in public health and in the country would understand that depriving an individual of her freedom for a brief period of time is a legitimate step to take. for a brief period of time is a legitimate step to take. North Brother Island sits in the East River, a few hundred yards offshore from the South Bronx. This is the site of the city's largest quarantine facility, Riverside Hospital. Most of the patients are sick with tuberculosis. They must stay here until they recover or die. LERNER: North Brother Island was a scary place to go to. Here are hundreds of patients sick with infectious diseases... and then Mary Mallon, who everybody admits is perfectly healthy, is sent out there. Mary is confined to a small cottage on the island. She was being cut off from everyone, everything she was familiar with. It was really imprisonment. I don't think she would have seen it as anything other than imprisonment. When I came here I was so nervous, I was almost prostrated with grief and trouble. My eyes began to twitch, my left eye became paralysed, would not move. It remained in this condition for six months. Not everyone in public health believes Mary's quarantine is justified. Dr Milton Rosenau, Director of the National Hygienic Laboratory in Washington, and other prominent scientists object to her incarceration. They understood her dangers, they accepted she was a healthy carrier, yet they said "All you have to do is retrain her for another job "where she's not cooking, then she won't be a danger to anybody." But the Department of Health is determined not to let Mary go. Instead, doctors try to cure her with experimental drugs and procedures. I took urotropin for about three months, all told. Had I continued it, it would have killed me, for it was very severe. At first I wouldn't take it, for I'm afraid of these people and I have good right. She never listened to reason. When they suggested removing her gallbladder, the probable focus of infection, she was convinced afresh this was a pretext for killing her. Mary's doctors have a hunch, incorrect as it turns out, that removing the gallbladder will cure her. They said they'd have the best surgeon to do the cutting, but I said "No, no knife will be put on me. "I've nothing the matter with my gallbladder." I think Mary Mallon may have made a very good choice there. If she'd had surgery, she probably would have survived, but the rates of infections and other problems were higher, and she might have died from gallbladder surgery. Mary is kept on North Brother Island but wages a steady battle. She writes letter after letter to Biggs, Soper and Baker pleading for her freedom. Why should I be banished like a leper and compelled to live in solitary confinement? A few years of this life and I will be insane. Two years go by. Mary is even more desperate to regain her freedom. Will I submit quietly to staying here a prisoner all my life? No. As there is a God in Heaven, I will get justice, somehow, sometime! In June 1909, Mary and a young Irish lawyer, George O'Neill, file suit in the New York Supreme Court demanding her release. Her argument was very simple. I've never been sick, therefore I can't transmit sickness to anybody else. And I've never got my day in court. There has been no due process. A few days later, publisher William Randolph Hearst tells Mary's story in his 'New York American'. He may even be financing her legal case to sell newspapers. This time her identity is revealed, but 'Typhoid Mary' is the name that sticks. The story includes an article by William Park, head of the city's bacteriological lab. He writes that new screening procedures have uncovered at least 50 healthy carriers of typhoid fever. Only Mary is in quarantine. The Health Department knows they haven't isolated the other 49 because walking around the city streets, mingling with people in New York, was not at all dangerous. Mary Mallon only transmitted typhoid fever when she cooked for people. July 1909. Mary Mallon leaves North Brother Island for the first time in two years to plead her case before the New York Supreme Court. The Department of Health defends its position. The Health Department argued very strongly that there was proof in the laboratory that she was a carrier and dangerous to the public health, a menace to the public health. And they argued that point alone. Mary goes into court with some ammunition of her own. Using her boyfriend Briehof as a courier, she has been sending specimens for months to the Ferguson Laboratory in Manhattan. The results contradict the Health Department's. The Health Department report always comes back stating that typhus bacilli have been found. But my specialist, who is the head of his profession, reports that he has found none. Occasionally, the specimens of a healthy carrier do not contain bacteria, which may explain Mary's results. In any event, the court rules against her. Historically, courts have almost always sided with public health departments, be it typhoid fever, tuberculosis, other infectious diseases, because the fear of the spread of infectious diseases is so dramatic. I absolutely think that the public health authorities were justified in quarantining her. The public has the right to be protected from people who can destroy their lives and end up killing them. We see it today, certainly, with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, with HIV/AIDS, now with SARS. You see where individuals are being quarantined, isolated, whose liberty is taken away in the name of protecting public health. Mary Mallon gives us an example of that at an extreme level, because she was healthy, she wasn't even sick. There are two kinds of justice in America, and all the ocean's water wouldn't clear me of this charge

in the eyes of the Health Department. They want to make a showing. They want to get credit for protecting the rich, and I am the victim. Several leading public health officials are outraged at Mary's continued incarceration. Charles Chapin in Rhode Island declares it "a discredit on public health work". In New York, the Department of Health is feeling the pressure. There were numerous attempts to find a way to let all involved weasel out. There were a number of approaches to Mary. "Don't you want to stay with your sister in Connecticut?" She would say "I don't have a sister there." The idea was "If we could unload her on another state." I have been told that all I have to do is to leave the state and live under another name and I can have my freedom, but I will not do this. I will either be cleared or I will die where I am now. In 1910, Mary's fortune changes. New York City hires a new Health Commissioner, Ernst Lederle. Lederle strikes me as a sympathetic character. He was uncomfortable with the civil liberties implications, the political, the humanitarian, the medical implications. He was uncomfortable with the situation. Lederle releases Mary. She must report in regularly and can never again work as a cook. He even finds her a job... at the bottom of the domestic ladder. Laundresses were just about the worst-paid members of the female working class. It was horrendous work and paid close to nothing. Mary's boyfriend, Briehof, dies soon after her release. She is on her own, barely able to make a living. The Health Department has her on file and knows where she's living and knows when she moves in 1910, in 1911, in 1912, in 1913... In 1914, they admit they've lost track of her. By that time, health officials have a bigger problem on their hands. They have come to realise at least three per cent of people who get typhoid fever become carriers after they recover. That was an enormous number of people. It'd range in the thousands and thousands in a city like New York. You basically have to go to everyone who had typhoid fever and check their stools after they got better. That's impossible, so the Department of Health focuses on those who pose the greatest risk - food handlers. The Health Department passed a resolution that became the law of the land, that anybody who handled food in New York had to be tested, and had to be tested regularly. They were given cards so they were known to the Health Department, and were given instructions on what they should do. They had to report to the Health Department to get checked on. They caught very few healthy carriers that way. It was a very expensive program - you can imagine all the food handlers there are in New York City. Most healthy carriers escape detection unless they cause an outbreak. In March 1915, typhoid fever strikes the city's prestigious Sloane Maternity Hospital. 25 doctors, nurses and staff come down with the disease. Two die. The hospital calls in George Soper. Dr Cragin asked me to come at once to Sloane Hospital. When I arrived he told me he had a typhoid epidemic on his hands. The other servants had jokingly nicknamed the cook 'Typhoid Mary'. She called herself Mrs Brown. She was out at the moment but would I recognise her handwriting? He handed me a letter from which I saw at once that it was indeed Mary Mallon. I went up there and went into the kitchen. Sure enough, there was Mary, earning her living in the hospital kitchen, spreading typhoid germs among mothers and babies, doctors and nurses, like a destroying angel. My sympathy begins to erode a bit for her. And I think, what is going through her mind? How can she go back and start cooking? Is she either so dense that she didn't get it or is she so spiteful that she's going to show the Americans or she's going to show the employer class that they can't keep her down? I don't think she was ever an evil person. She didn't intentionally go out to hurt people. She just was incapable of understanding that her carrier state was the cause of deaths of people and the illness of people. Department of Health officers trace Mary to a house in Queens. She doesn't answer the doorbell so they use a stepladder to get to the second floor. There are dogs barking. They bring meat to give to the dogs and quiet them. They break into the house. This time, she goes without a struggle. I think she understood the jig's up, you know? "This was basically my last shot. I'm not getting out of this." There is no sympathy now for the woman whose name is synonymous with disease. The second time that Mary Mallon was quarantined, the arguments for doing so have become more compelling. She's failed the test of working with public health officials, and she's sent back to the island, this time with more justification. BOURDAIN: By the time she hit North Brother the second time, there was no fight left in her. Everything that she had was gone. One of the women here, the second from the left, is thought to be Mary Mallon. Adjusting to life on North Brother Island, Mary even makes friends with some of the doctors and nurses. My father was the Medical Director of the Riverside Hospital there, and he knew Mary Mallon very well. He was one of the few people that Mary got along with. He was a first-generation Irish person - I think he could identify, maybe more than Hermann Biggs or George Soper, with what makes an Irish immigrant tick. Three years after her return, the Department of Health occasionally allows Mary to take the ferry into New York. They'd let her leave, take trips to visit friends. She'd return on time. I don't think there was anything else for her out there. While Mary is in quarantine, the Department of Health develops a more flexible approach to healthy carriers. Food handlers are sometimes retrained or paid to stop working. Even uncooperative carriers are not punished the way Mary Mallon is. Mary Mallon got singled out, I think. The Public Health Department, in the face of her resisting this new authority of science, got vengeful in their desire to show, to teach her a lesson. On the island, Mary is tested regularly for typhoid. She is still a carrier. Eventually she is given a job as a lab technician at Riverside Hospital. In 1932, her supervisor poses with Mary at age 62. The photograph we have of Mary Mallon from late in her li shows a woman who's gained weight, who has suffered some minor stroke One of her hands is in a fist. She does not look very attractive in that picture. She doesn't look very happy. After 26 years on North Brother Island, Mary Mallon died in 1938. She was 69 years old. She had given 47 people typhoid fever. Three of them died. Mary never accepted she was the cause. By that time, typhoid fever was on the wane, the result of better sanitation. It would be another 10 years before antibiotics would be used to treat the disease and cure healthy carriers like Mary. But new and even more deadly diseases continue to arise, confronting us with the issues that Mary Mallon first raised a century ago. Today it might be Ebola virus, HIV and most recently SARS. But we always have to, as a society, be very careful about how we will use public health powers and not trample on the rights of individuals who are sick. Though Mary Mallon is long forgotten, 'Typhoid Mary' is not. She remains a potent symbol of our fear of disease and of the dilemma over how far we should go to protect ourselves. We now assume that Typhoid Mary is actually a perpetrator of evil, and I think that's probably a pretty sad legacy for her. I lived a decent and upright life until I was seized, locked up and rechristened Typhoid Mary. Before God, and in the eyes of decent men, my name is Mary Mallon. Captions (c) SBS Australia 2005