Typhoid, Cockles and Terrorism

Black and white photograph showing three female shellfish gatherers with baskets on the Irish coastline, ca. 1900

Three female shellfish gatherers with baskets in Ireland, ca. 1900 (National Library of Ireland)

Typhoid is a major threat that annually sickens over 14.3 million and kills at least 135,000 people – many of whom are children. Typhoidland is an international research and critically acclaimed engagement project that challenges the myth of typhoid as a disease of the past, raises awareness about antimicrobial resistance, and analyses past interventions to inform current control efforts.

Since 2019, the Typhoidland team have conducted interdisciplinary research on the past and present of sanitary control, vaccine development and trials, and antimicrobial resistance (AMR). In 2019, we published findings on the long-term factors impacting control and challenges posed by AMR in Clinical Infectious Diseases. A new popular history of 200 years of typhoid control appeared with Scala in 2022.

Led by Dr Carly Collier, the team is currently conducting new research on the turbulent history of typhoid control and early bioterrorism allegations in revolutionary Dublin (Typhoid, Cockles, and Terrorism). Additional research is on the historical epidemiology of typhoid in Dublin is being conducted by Associate Curator Dr Emily Webster. An exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Dublin City Library and Archives, and University College Dublin Archives will open on Bloomsday 2024.

An additional project focuses on the (post)colonial legacies of imperial sanitary design in Bangalore with colleagues at St John’s Medical College (team lead Dr Manjulika Vaz). In 2022, we published findings on the institutionalised precarity of manual scavengers in BMJ: Global Health.