Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary

Fatal Fever: Tracking Down Typhoid Mary

By Gail Jarrow

Honesdale, Pennsylvania:  Calkins Creek, 2015.

175 Pages  Grades 6 and Up

Always looking for a great narrative nonfiction books and Fatal Fever kept me engaged while being a great source of information on typhoid fever, immigration, and sanitation back in the late 1800’s-to the early 1900’s. Great details on those who were tracking and those who were on the front line of fighting typhoid fever. Pictures and political cartoons add the perfect visuals for the reader!fever                              Mary Mallon was just fourteen when she left a very hard life in Ireland for the hopes of something better in the United States.  She lived briefly with an aunt and uncle until they died and then she became a cook for wealthy New York families.  New York quickly became oversaturated with immigrants, thousands that lived in terrible living conditions.  Ithaca, New York was one of those cities where the sanitation was beyond horrible.  Typhoid fever was becoming epidemic.

Mary Mallon was a cook where mysteriously the families she served often came down with typhoid fever and some even died.  George Soper was a young man who was the leading scientist who led the fight against typhoid—he had worked miracles in Ithaca and now was trying to track down this “cook” who was spreading typhoid fever wherever she went. As the story goes, Mary tried to stay away from the authorities, claims she never had the disease, and was a tyrant when they wanted to test her.

Read about the manhunt and how Typhoid Mary was spreading this awful disease.  A great narrative nonfiction.

Could use this as a kick off for mandatory vaccinations.

Tracking down evidence from the book to make a case against Mary Mallon.

The right to detain/isolate them like a criminal for being a carrier of an illness.

Author Website


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