So I’ve delve into my historical medical books (and Google!) to look further into the unknown pandemic of Cocoliztli.
It is well known that imported infections from Europe with the Spanish Conquistadors caused many deaths; Smallpox for example was imported in about 1520 and killed about 8 million people. In fact during the 16th Century about 90% of the native population of Mexico was wiped out by disease. But as if Smallpox wasn’t enough, this was followed in 1545 by the first Cocoliztli epidemic which killed a further 15 million people. Local people called this disease Cocoliztli or “pest” and as pandemics go this one seems pretty bad! A further Cocoliztli epidemic in 1576 killed another 50% of the population, so by this time more than 90% of the natives had been killed in just over 50 years!