New York State Department of Health Bureau of Epidemiology and Communicable Disease Control Typhoid Fever Case Report Cards

Held by the New York State Archives

Overview of the Records


New York State Archives

New York State Education Department

Cultural Education Center

Albany, NY 12230

Physicians across the state were required to report each case of designated communicable diseases to the State Department of Health. This series consists of data on victims of typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, salmonella, and (after 1950) salmonella carriers. Personal data includes patient's name; address; occupation; age; sex; color/race; national origin; household composition; and type of residence. Medical data includes diagnosis; probable infection source; food and water sources; sanitary condition; and precautions taken against spread of disease. Records are restricted pursuant to state and federal laws.
8 cubic feet (approximately 30,800 cards) (44 microfilm rolls)
Inclusive Dates:
Series Number:


Chronological by year, then alphabetical by county and within that by municipality.

Administrative History

Physicians across the state were required to report each case of communicable disease legally designated as public health concerns to their local health officers, who forwarded the report to the state Department of Health. Reporting of individual cases, rather than monthly totals, began in 1914. Typhoid fever already was a reportable disease in 1914.

Typhoid fever is caused by a salmonella bacterium introduced into the system with food or drinking water. Salmonella bacteria are pathogenic for humans and other warm-blooded animals, and cause food poisoning, gastrointestinal inflammation, or diseases of the genital tract. A Widal test is used to confirm diagnosis of typhoid fever. Paratyphoid is a salmonellosis that resembles typhoid fever and is also commonly contracted by eating contaminated food.

Scope and Content Note

The series consists of pre-printed cards (approximately 3.5" x 6") that record, in manuscript, personal and medical data on victims of typhoid fever, paratyphoid fever, salmonella, and (after 1950) on salmonella carriers. The card files represent about 30,000 cases of these communicable diseases reported to the Health Department from throughout the state. There are also some cards on out-of-state carriers and cases for which the diagnosis was changed to something other than typhoid.

Personal data on individual case report cards consists of: patient's name; occupation; age; sex; color/race; national origin; household composition; type of residence; and visits made during the preceding thirty days. Each card also includes the patient's address and primary health district number.

Medical data is comprised of: diagnosis; date of onset; probable source of infection; sources of food and water; sanitary condition of house and well; precautions taken against spread of disease; results of Widal test; and whether the family has received the department's circulars or instructions on the disease and disinfection procedures.

After 1920, a form specifically designed for typhoid fever reporting asks about sanitary conditions in greater detail, covering nursing and cooking responsibilities in the household; visible symptoms; and vaccination history.

From 1926 through 1948, paratyphoid fever cases are filed separately from typhoid cases. In 1949 the paratyphoid designation changed to "salmonella including paratyphoid fever." In 1951 a category for salmonella carriers was added. In 1952 categories for out-of-state carriers and cases found not to be typhoid were added. Each of these categories also is filed separately within each calendar year.

The final box of the series contains attachments removed from some of the report cards. These are typically in the form of short handwritten notes, usually made by local physicians or district health officers. There is occasionally correspondence from the department requesting information, such as signatures, that had been omitted from the cards, as well as from physicians writing for copies of official reporting cards. The notes typically explain reasons for delaying submission of the report card (to confirm diagnosis, hold consultation); correct or expand information reported previously; report cases transferred from another area or removed to a hospital; or comment on patients' association with sale of milk or milk products. Also included are some reports of "imported infection" which were made to facilitate charging of cases to the municipality in which infection probably occurred, and to bring them to the attention of local health officers to discover and eliminate the possible source of infection.

Use of Records

Access Restrictions

Restricted by New York Public Health Law sect. 18 and New York Code of Rules and Regulations part 10, sect. 50-4; by New York Freedom of Information Law (Public Officers Law Art. 6) sect. 87.2(b); by New York Personal Privacy Protection Law (Public Officers Law Art. 6-A) sect. 96; and by the U.S. Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Acct (HIPAA), 42 U.S. Code sect. 1320d-6, and -7.

Alternate Formats Available

This series has been microfilmed on 44 rolls. Microfilm is not available through inter-library loan.

Related Information

Related Materials

Series B0165 Deceased and released typhoid carriers case files

Series B0166 Typhoid fever case investigation files

Series B0168 Typhoid fever positive lab reports and

Series B1068 Typhoid fever carriers case control cards contain case investigation files and lab reports, generated by the State Department of Health, that document the study of typhoid fever.

Other finding aids

Container list and microfilm roll list are available at the repository.

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