For all the notoriety, she possibly caused the deaths of three people - not "hundreds" or "thousands" as is commonly believed.
(Oxford English Dictionary)
Typhoid Mary, nickname of Mary Mallon (d. 1938), Irish-born cook who transmitted typhoid fever in the U.S.A. Also fig., a transmitter of undesirable opinions, sentiments, etc.
1909 N.Y. Times 17 July 3/5 Mary Mallon, known to fame as 'Typhoid Mary',..must remain at Riverside Hospital. 1961 S. P. HAYES in Webster s.v., Authoritarianism..is carried by Typhoid Marys, unwitting sources of infection. 1971 'L. EGAN' Malicious Mischief (1972) vii. 118, I went to the library..and asked. And of course they looked at me as if I waswas Typhoid Mary. 1976 Ann. Rev. Microbiol. XXX. 438 During the next 15 years Typhoid Mary infected well over 200 persons. 1979 R. JAFFE Class Reunion II. vi. 180 Alexander's own misery was the most important thing in Alexander's life, and whatever he gave of it to others was unimportant to him; he was simply unaware. Alexander was the Typhoid Mary of angst.
Judith Walzer Leavitt is a professor of medical history and women's studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She is the author of Typhoid Mary: Captive to the Public's Health (Beacon Press, 1996), on which the NOVA program "The Most Dangerous Woman in America" was based and from which this article was adapted with kind permission of the author and publisher.
In Typhoid Mary, Bourdain, renowned chef and author of Kitchen Confidential (2000), reexamines the legend of Mary Maflon, otherwise known as the infamous Typhoid Mary. Unwittingly responsible for an outbreak of typhoid fever in Oyster Bay, Long Island, in 1904, Mary, a cook, fled when authorities began to suspect that she was a carrier. Resurfacing in New York City, she continued to infect victims with the typhoid bacillus until she was caught and incarcerated by the authorities. Investing a tragic tale with a new twist, Bourdain plays historical detective, providing an entertaining and suspenseful evocation of turn-of-the-century New York. Margaret Flanagan
30 June 1909, Chicago Daily Tribune, pg. 7:
"TYPHOID MARY" BEGS LIBERTY
Has Been Prisoner in Quarantine
Two Years; Menaces All.
SPREADS GERMS OF DEATH.
Tells Court She Is Treated Like Leper
12 November 1938, New York Times, pg. 17:
"TYPHOID MARY" DIES
OF A STROKE AT 68
Carrier of Disease, Blamed for
51 Cases and 3 Deaths, but
She Was Held Immune
Mary Mallon, the first carrier of typhoid bacilli identified in America and consequently known as Typhoid Mary, died yesterday in Riverside Hospital on North Brother Island.
With the exception of a five-year period from 1910 to 1915, this isolated spot in the East River had been her home since 1907 when she was committed after it had been discovered that she was a veritable peripatetic breeding ground for the bacilli.