Mexico: 500 years later, scientists discover what killed the Aztecs

Sin Nombre virus and Andes virus both variations of Hanta get my vote. Same symptoms and could arise from over populations of voles or could have evolved from mice and rats that accompanied Spanish – Hanta is endemic in Europe and Asia which given the right conditions can explode – lots of corn, urban population and lack of local predators for new rodents..

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Within five years, 15 million people – 80% of the population – were wiped out in an epidemic named ‘cocoliztli’, meaning pestilence

In 1545 disaster struck Mexico’s Aztec nation when people started coming down with high fevers, headaches and bleeding from the eyes, mouth and nose. Death generally followed in three or four days.

Within five years as many as 15 million people – an estimated 80% of the population – were wiped out in an epidemic the locals named “cocoliztli”. The word means pestilence in the Aztec Nahuatl language. Its cause, however, has been in questioned for nearly 500 years.

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