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Controlling communicable diseases such as Typhoid Mary

1. What form(s) of communicable disease control was used in the case of Typhoid Mary?

2. Was this the best course of action?

3. Are there better ways in which the spread of disease could have been controlled.

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Poor Mary Mallon, a single middle-aged Irish immigrant struggling on a low income, when she became a scapegoat to a disease, for which the community blamed her. At the time, there was no Welfare, Medicaid or safety net system to help her while she was a carrier of the Typhoid communicable disease.

Mary was unwillingly quarantined on North Brother Island for two years. The sentiment of the time was that of anger and this failed to solicit a calm and rational arena in what was the best for all. Education, Public Service Announcements, proper training of workers, health care staff, etc. could have provoked a better outcome. It is similar to the initial reaction to AIDS and HIV, when it was first prominent in the 80s.

Because the health officials were the power figures in the scenario, Mary reacted poorly, and there was not a good stream of communication between she and the authority. But at the same time, the officials were acting on their duty to protect the public at large, and not the single individual. This coupled with the overall sentiment toward immigrants at the time, didn't work out well with her. At the same time, their insensitivity to ...

Solution Summary

Low income Irish immigrant Mary and her treatment due to community ignorance of communicable disease is discussed.

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