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>Journals > >Year 2000, Issue 4


Góngora-Biachi RA
The yellow fever in Yucatan before Columbus period and colonial period
2000; 11 (4)

Language: Spanish
References: 8
Page: 301-307
PDF: 0. Kb.

[Full text - PDF]

ABSTRACT

Yellow fever is a haemorrhagic fever syndrome caused by a flavivirus, the yellow fever virus, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti and Haemagogus mosquitoes. The Yellow fever virus has caused important epidemics in America, Africa and Europe. The Popol-Vuh, the sacred book of the mayan indians, relates how yellow among the mayans was due to their living in close proximity to monkeys and tells of a sickness called "xekik" (vomitting blood) which ocurred between 1480 and 1485. Other sacred texts such as the Chilam Balam of Chumayel, Tizimín and Kaua also described the epidemics of "xekik". Fray Diego de Landa, in his book Relación de las Cosas de Yucatán, writt in 1560, refers to the first epidemic in the region which ocurred approximately from 1483 to 1484. There were epidemics of yellow fever in 1569 and 1571-1572 described as the “peste”. The impact of these epidemics, added to other pathologies imported by the Europeans (small pox, measles and “tabardillo” (exa ntematic tifus)) and starvation by plagues and droughts, caused the indigenous population to be reduced by one third by 1572. Other yellow fever ocurred in 1648-1650 and in 1699. The 1648 outbreak of the yellow fever epidemic was described by Fray Diego López Cogolludo, in his “Historia de Yucatán”, written in 1688. The epidemic predominated in the region for two years and its effect was so devasting that the agricultural activity collapsed, in 1650 there was famine and the communities were abandoned as the mayans fleed to the jungle ot the coast. Yellow fever in Yucatan was then endemic. However, four more outbreaks occurred in 1699, 1715, 1730 and in 1744.


Key words: Yellow fever, epidemics, Yucatan, History of Medicine.





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