Pioneers in Public Health The NYU - Bellevue Contribution

Typhoid in the City

Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine

Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, a lecturer and graduate of the University and Bellevue Medical College, was a pioneer in the early methods of public health management. As Assistant Commissioner of Health for the New York City Department of Health, she led efforts to identify and quarantine “Typhoid Mary,” an asymptomatic typhoid carrier who was the source of a deadly outbreak in 1907. This was the first known case of a healthy person who was a carrier for a deadly bacterial disease. Understanding that healthy people could carry and spread typhoid furthered research and knowledge into the transmission of other infectious diseases.