I was a follower of Gerard Diamond's "Guns, Germs and Steel" theory of the colonization of the Americas. But lately that theory has come under attack and the main culprit is the cocolitzli virus. This virus is a local virus, native to the Americas and it is deadly. Dr Francisco Hernadez, a Spanish physician in Mexico at the time of the conquest, in his writings never named the disease. He listed the symptoms but never named the disease. If it was smallpox or the plague or one of the other diseases from Europe he would have known the disease and said so. But since he didn't name the disease Dr. John S. Marr MD an Historical Epidemiologist assumed he didn't know what it was. It was a new disease, native to the New World. But the Aztecs knew about it and they had a name for it, the Cocolitizli virus or the great pest. It is estimated this virus killed 16 out of every 20 people. It was deadly. There were 2 outbreaks one in 1545 and the other in 1576 then it vanished. It is estimated to have killed around 17 million people.
Now fast forward to New Mexico in 1993 there was a strange deadly disease that was killing people very fast. It turned out to be a new strain of the Hanta virus that had first surfaced during the Korean war. Now this virus is also deadly. But the main difference between these two viruses is the one in New Mexico was transmitted from the rodent, a deer mouse to humans. While the Cocolitizli virus ended up, epidemiologist historians surmise because of how many people were killed, that the virus was transmitted from human to human. If the Hanta virus goes human to human the human race has problems. Well it has already gone human to human once in Argentina there was an outbreak in 1998. There it went from patient to doctor and to wife and husband. We were lucky it died out before it did any serious damage to the human race. Because it died out so fast the host rodent was never found.
Now we will go back in history to the native Indians living in the South Western desert areas of America. The same area were the Hanta virus came back to life in 1993. The Indian peoples who live in the southern desert regions of the USA have a saying, "If a mouse walks over your bedding burn your bedding, and if a mouse moves into your house you move out. " They had been plagued by the disease for generations, but for modern man it was a new disease. This disease is like the Cocolotozli virus the local peoples knew about it but Spanish did not.
Also it might have paid a part in why the Native Indians left the desert areas. One of the unexplained migrations from early America is why did the Indian people pack up and leave their beautiful cities in the southern desert areas of the USA. There might have been a mice plague leaving the Indians with two choices – stay and die or leave so they left. The main reasons put forward so far are the usual ones, overpopulation with global warming equals famine so they left for greener pastures. The main problem with this theory is, if you are starving you can't walk very far. Also being humans we don't like to just up and go, well I don't.
The archaeological record shows that they had what looks like the ritual burning of their homes meaning they weren't coming back. I would say the ritual burning had more to do with the mice having moved in, so it was time for the native peoples to move out and on. If there was a mice plague and they saw mice everywhere they would have an incentive to leave. The local Indians would have been aware of the connections between the mice and the disease and they would have realized that to survive they would have to leave. Actually it is a mystery where they went no one seems to know. Knowing about the mice and keeping out of their way has been passed down from generation to generation. It is possible to have started in antiquity so the saga of mice and men continues to this very day.