Remember! When the man first came back from the moon, the astronauts had to stay in quarantine for a long time, as the new explorers were well aware of the damage their ancestors might have caused during their long journeys. The first enemy of man is, and will remain, the microbe. Especially the travels of microbes.
Before Columbus decided to lead his bow to the new world, Mexico was a kind of paradise, and its inhabitants, the Aztecs, left the traces of a brilliant civilization, made of scientists and architects, whose traces are still visible throughout the country. The history books are not very prolix on the reasons for their disappearance. The weapons of the time, not very effective, are not enough to explain such a genocide. We forget that it is not the jewels of junk, whose legend tells us the distribution among the "bright-eyed savages" brought by the explorers with them, but rather small organizations, weapons of mass destruction, which have always exist and which keep all their virulence.
This modern history readily recognizes it. On the other hand, it was not known which "weapons" had struck: Diphtheria, smallpox, plague ..., the great classics of the devastating epidemics of the Middle Ages?
Well no ! The journal Nature Ecology and Evolution reveals the name of the culprit. It's a very fashionable bacterium since a few months, the famous Salmonella, whose distant cousin wavers the giant Lactalis.
It is the reading of the narrative of the symptoms before death and especially the search of DNA on bone remains, which highlighted the person responsible for the death of 80% of the inhabitants of the coastal zones and 50% of those of the interior of Mexico. A health catastrophe that condemned the survival of an entire civilization.
Whether through sex or domestic animals that the crews brought with them, the contamination was massive and fast.
The threat remains intact
The anecdote of the quarantine of the astronauts, makes a little smile today, but the specialists of the microbes know perfectly well that the world is at the mercy of a fast and unexplained mutation of a nice virus or an innocuous bacterium.
From time to time the man is still surprised: for example we know that the jumbo jets are not unscathed in the explosion of the AIDS epidemic, a very old virus that ended up living lurking somewhere and that his export has awakened.
And what if tomorrow, a ship from another world lands on our good old earth. Know that it's not just Hollywood writers to think about it ....