The most ruinous diseases which flourished in the New World were smallpox, measles, influenza, plague and tuberculosis. The last named seemed to be especially threatening to people aged between fifteen and forty, that is, the hard – working elements of the population. The indigenous people of the New World were often affected by several of these infections at the same time. Contagion was often spread by people fleeing their stricken villages.
The authorities at Santo Domingo instituted the first quarantine measures in the Americas, requiring all arriving ships to be inspected. Outbreak of diseases could have originated in Spain or Africa, although the latter seems more likely, in view of where the epidemic started on the island.
- Hugh T (2014).World Without End: Spain, Philip II, and the First Global Empire
- Hopkins D R (2002).The Greatest Killer: Smallpox in History