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"Typhoid Mary" - by Rev. Weldon Bares

Mary Mallon lived in New York City in the early 1900's. She was a cook. The restaurant where she worked had an outbreak of typhoid fever, a disease that is spread through water or food supplies, which in turn causes all kinds of health problems and can lead to death.

The authorities tried to figure out who was spreading typhoid. Mary was identified, but she said that it couldn’t be her because she claimed to not be infected or sick. So she kept on working in her job that allowed her to infect more people. She actually infected 51 people, of whom several died.

Eventually she was isolated to North Brother Island in New York City’s East River to the Riverside Hospital for quarantinable diseases. The island is now uninhabited.

After Mary died, an autopsy made it clear that she was the culprit. She was given a name that has remained through the years: “Typhoid Mary.”

In the same way that some people today spread physical disease, others can cause harm in different ways. Some people today are toxic to others in their bad language, in their attitudes, in their hatred, in their racism, in their behavior.

It is a fact of life. Some people today can help us to be better, but some people seem to drag us down.

An old saying that goes back to the 16th century says, “If you lie down with dogs, you will get up with fleas.” The scripture puts it like this, “Bad company corrupts good character.”

(I Corinthians 15:33)

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