40th anniversary of
May 20, 2004
Today marks the fortieth
anniversary of the worst epidemic to hit Aberdeen in living memory. Hundreds
were struck down when the potentially fatal typhoid bug swept across the
Aberdeen in the summer of 1964 was a city under siege. Forty years ago today
the first three cases of typhoid were diagnosed in what would become the
city's worst health crisis for centuries.
The number of people affected would soon spiral to epidemic proportions and
Aberdeen was effectively quaratined. The disease had been imported from
Argentina and was traced back to a single can of corned beef sold from a
The outbreak was making front page news around the world. Sheena Blackhall
was a promising young artist when she was struck down by the bug. Aileen
Pettits son Craig was among the first to be hospitalised, he'd eaten meat
which had come from the same shop.
By the end of the outbreak there had been 469 confirmed cases of typhoid in
Aberdeen. Although there were no confirmed fatalities, the events of the
summer of '64 are now etched on the local consciousness.