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October 31, 1914

NINETY-THREE PERSONS INFECTED BY A TYPHOID CARRIER AT A PUBLIC DINNER

JAMA. 1914;LXIII(18):1537-1542. doi:10.1001/jama.1914.02570180023005
Abstract

The city of Hanford, Cal., experienced an explosive outbreak of typhoid fever in the latter part of March, 1914. The epidemic consisted of ninety-three cases, all of which were traced to a church dinner. The infection came from a typhoid carrier among those who prepared and served the food— a woman who did not suspect that she had ever had typhoid fever.

Of special interest were the incubation periods, which were, in the majority of instances, less than eight days. The shortest was three days.

The disconcerting observation was made during the investigation that under conditions which are not at all unusual, baking can actually incubate the inner portions of masses of food instead of sterilizing them.

THE OUTBREAK  The epidemic began with one case on March 20. During the following three days the daily number of new cases rose rapidly to the maximum, nineteen.

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