The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Typhoid Mary

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Typhoid Mary: We talk about her as if she weren't real. But she was. And she was imprisoned against her will - without trial - for decades.

Mary Mallon was a young Irish woman trying to make her way in America, doing the best she could at the only job she knew - cooking. Her specialty was frozen desserts - and New York's finest families competed for her skills.

She was also an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid, a bacterial disease transmitted through contaminated water or food.

When an epidemic of typhoid broke out in New York's prominent neighborhoods, an investigation began to isolate the cause. It led to Mary Mallon, and to a whole set of hygiene laws still on the books today.

This NOVA presentation mixes documentary and docudrama segments to bring the story of Mary and her pursuers to life. Use this study guide to keep track of what's going on.

Here's a link to the video: https://youtu.be/8JPCZOb7z2w
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55 Minutes

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The Most Dangerous Woman in America: Typhoid Mary