NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Most of us have at least heard of “Typhoid Mary.” But Pearl River author Mary Beth Keane tells a fascinating story about Mary Mallon in her new book “Fever.”

She spoke about it with WCBS 880’s Pat Farnack.

Keane said that Mallon was an Irish immigrant who came to New York as a teenager in the 1880s and worked as a cook upon her arrival and, in 1907, she was discovered to be the first healthy carrier of typhoid fever.

That meant that she was passing the disease on through her cooking, though she never showed any signs of it herself.

“So, she was, for that reason, imprisoned, quarantined on North Brother Island in the East River for a total of 26 years,” Keane said. “She was released at one point for about five years. But I don’t want to give away my entire book.”

Keane said it was a fascinating case, so she decided to fictionalize it and “raise her from her one-dimensional status.”

Learn more about the book at Keane’s website.

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