Dilworth bactitech at hortonsbay.com
Thu Feb 22 01:09:02 EST 2001

Thanks, John!  Wow!  What a terrible introduction to Salmonella.  Good
thing you know about handwashing and didn't catch anything working on
all those specimens from the Boy Scout picnic.  Did they ever trace what
food caused it and where it came from?

I watched the PBS special on Mary Todd and Abraham Lincoln the last two
evenings.  Her son Willie died of typhoid fever and Tad died later
(after Lincoln's assassination) at age 18 of TB.  She was unconsolable
after these losses and was briefly committed to an insane asylum in the
mid 1870's.  I  was struck with the fact that in this day and age, 140
years later, no woman, in this country at least, would have to suffer
like this, especially a first lady.  Her son with typhoid would have
been treated with antibiotics and, while he would have been very ill,
would probably have recovered. Actually, with water treatment and
chlorination in Washington and throughout the US, the chances of even
getting typhoid in this country have dropped to nil, thank goodness. 
(My grandfather got it from a well in my city back in 1908 and
practically died.  He was sick for six months.  His illness predated a
city water system.)

Her son with TB likely would have been put on triple antibiotic therapy
and recovered.  President Lincoln would probably have not have recovered
even nowadays from a direct bullet to his brain, however, but he would
have been helicoptered to the best trauma center in Washington and
operated on almost instantaneously if he were still alive.  Mary Todd
would have sought psychiatric care and probably would have been put on
anti-depressant medication and not left to fend for herself, living in
hotel rooms, a widow of a martyred president, with no friends and
limited financial means.

What a different medical world we live in now!  The political world the
Lincolns lived in, however, was pretty similar to what went on during
Viet Nam.  People and the press haven't changed that much in 140 years.

Judy Dilworth, M.T. (ASCP)

John Gentile wrote:
> Judy,
>     That's an excellent summation of the 3 big ones - Salmonella, Shigella
> and Campylobacter. An important point you brought up should always be
> remembered - you should ALWAYS consider raw meat to be contaminated with
> potentially dangerous pathogens!

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