By Marissa Williams, MPH, Environmental Health Specialist
For centuries, the uncertainty behind what happened to the Aztecs has been an enigma, an expanse of mystery and wonder; not only to historians and anthropologists, but also to countless people throughout modern civilization. What caused the population’s massive and abrupt decline? While it has long been suspected that an epidemic of sorts was to blame, recent scientific discoveries of DNA extraction and analysis have finally provided a well-founded explanation – Salmonella enterica. These findings emphasize the invaluable role of public health in ensuring safe food, safe water, and healthy communities. The implications of the absence of public health can now be told in the story of the Aztecs.
For more information on this topic, see the following article from The Guardian: “500 years later, scientists discover what probably killed the Aztecs”