Monday, January 08, 2007

This is interesting Theory for Mass Deaths Roils Mexico
Mexicans have long been taught to blame diseases brought by the Spaniards for wiping out most of their Indian ancestors. But recent research suggests things may not be that simple.

While the initial big die-offs are still blamed on the Conquistadors who started arriving in 1519, even more virulent epidemics in 1545 and 1576 may have been caused by a native blood-hemorrhaging fever spread by rats, Mexican researchers say.

The idea has sparked heated debate in Mexican academic circles.

This part:
Dr. Francisco Hernandez, a physician to the Spanish king who witnessed the epidemic of 1576 and conducted autopsies, describes a fever that caused heavy bleeding, similar to the hemorrhagic Ebola virus. It raced through the Indian population, killing four out of five people infected, often within a day or two.

"Blood flowed from the ears and in many cases blood truly gushed from the nose," he wrote. "Of those with recurring disease, almost none was saved."

Seems odd. It's suggested further down that this might have been bubonic/pneumonic plague carried in by European rats. That's about 200 years after it first hit Europe. The symptoms don't seem to match with the European plague though, as one would think the big black boils would surely be mentioned. Still, interesting.