McClellan's "typhoid fever"

This is more of a matter for Jim Schmidt's blog. nevertheless the news regarding Florida's dengue fever reminds me of my discomfort with the legend of McClellan's typhoid relapse in late '61.

I call it a legend because it is one of those endlessly repeated items that needs scrutiny. McClellan himself refers to the illness of December '61 as typhoid fever and as a relapse, which suggests he heard his own diagnosis from contemporary medicine. But contemporary medicine knew nothing of bacteria, which is how typhoid is transmitted.

Dengue is spread by mosquitos and the symptoms better match what we know about his "relapse." Dengue also reaches a dead end with the victim, unlike the "Typhoid Mary" effect which would fell some of the victim's cohort.

Let me suggest McClellan had dengue fever as we now define it. I cite recurrence; the nature of the symptoms; the duration of the December outbreak; the lack of contagion.

Here is a quick read on dengue fever and another on typhoid fever.