The occurrence of rabies in pre-Columbian Central America: An historical search
Rabies is considered one of the oldest infectious diseases known to humans. However, the first written reports on rabies cases in the Americas did not appear until the first decade of the 18th century from Mexico. In an attempt to clarify if the disease was already present in pre-Columbian times, we searched for evidence in the Maya and Aztec cultures. Other sources of information were early manuscripts written by the conquistadors and early explorers. We did not identify any unequivocal direct evidence that the disease rabies was known in pre-Columbian Central America but sufficient circumstantial evidence is available suggesting that (bat) rabies was already present in these early times.