Another Typhoid Mary?

Posted: October 29, 2014 in All Others, Theories & Ideas
Tags: , , , , ,

After watching the last couple of days the soap opera unfolding staring a nurse who has returned from West Africa and both the State of New Jersey and now Maine, I am beginning to wonder why all the fuss? I understand that there are several underlying issues at work here, among those are some freedoms and some authorities both which are protected by the Constitution of the United States. However, there is also the issue of public health at stake. Where will it all collide? In the courts of course. This soap opera will undoubtedly play out over the next several months, leaving those of us with a little bit of common sense and understanding of the big picture asking why was nurse not willing to do the right thing in the name of public health?

Quarantine SignNot being a lawyer or an expert in laws governing public health in all 50 states, I thought to myself “surely local and state governments have quarantined people before during outbreaks of disease to control the transmission rate.” Then I remembered what we all call someone who comes over to the house and brings us a cold. “Typhoid Mary”.

Typhoid Mary Story

Typhoid Mary Story

After a quick google search and reading a couple of articles I re-discovered the story of Mary Mallon, a 20th century cook who was asymptomatic and cause several outbreaks of typhoid fever in New York State. She was quarantined twice, the first time for almost 3 years and the second time for 38 years until she died.

Typhoid Mary in quarantine

Typhoid Mary in quarantine

So is nurse Hickox a modern day “Typhoid Mary” an Ebola Annie so to speak? It’s highly doubtful. It has been reported that she has had all her blood test come back negative, which is great news for her and even better news for us. However, the next person who comes back from fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa might not be so lucky.

Nurse Hickox in quarantine in NJ.

Nurse Hickox in quarantine in NJ.

So far we have seen a nurse decide to fly the friendly skies while running a temperature and a doctor decided to go bowling while not feeling well. Both of these case could have exposed numerous people to this deadly disease causing a major outbreak in several areas around the county.

There is no doubt in my mind that until this outbreak has ended in West Africa we will see more people either brought back to the United States for treatment or more cases pop up within the US. As victims are being treated we will also see more health care workers contract the disease and potentially unknowingly spread the disease to others.

There will be other viruses that make the rounds through our society that will leave us asking this same question, history has already demonstrated this fact to us. This case just further demonstrates the fact that all should be prepared to sustain themselves within the confines of their homes during epidemics of disease. We all should be prepared to face this very real possibility of another deadly outbreak.



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