Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Briefly: Health

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Briefly: Health

Article excerpt

As compiled by editors of the International Herald Tribune.

IMMUNOLOGY

Bacteria study offers clues to Typhoid Mary mystery

Scientists are one step closer to explaining how Typhoid Mary could have infected dozens of New Yorkers over a 12-year career as a cook in the early 1900s, killing at least three of them, without having been sick herself.

A new study by scientists at Stanford University's medical school, published this month in the journal Cell Host & Microbe, sheds more light on how Salmonella typhi, the bacteria that cause typhoid fever, hide in the body.

Mary Mallon, known as Typhoid Mary, is the disease's most famous asymptomatic carrier.

The study, led by Denise M. Monack, a Stanford immunologist, showed in mice that Salmonella persist in macrophages -- the immune system's "attack cells," which engulf and digest invading bacteria - - that have cycled from an inflammatory state to a noninflammatory one, and appear to be able to influence the macrophage's metabolism to produce more glucose, which the bacteria feed on. …

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