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Explorers contract rare flesh-eating disease in ruins of ancient “cursed” city

Abandoned by residents in the 16th century because they thought it was cursed, the lost ‘City of the Monkey God’ took its toll on explorers and archaeologists. They were struck down by an aggressive tropical disease which eats through the face and had to be hospitalized.

The explorers fought off venomous snakes during the course of their dangerous expedition to the ruins of Ciudad Blanca, also known as the ‘City of the Monkey God’. According to The Independent, the explorers stumbled on some ruins by chance but since the site could not be excavated at that time they returned home.

It was then when they discovered they had contracted a virulent strain of Leishmaniasis, a disease transferred by sand flies which can eat through the face, and needed urgent hospital treatment. All members of the crew survived the disease unscathed.

“The parasite migrates to the mucous membranes of your mouth and your nose, and basically eats them away,” best-selling novelist Douglas Preston, who was part of the team, told CBS News. “Your nose falls off, your lips fall off, and eventually your face becomes a gigantic, open sore. It’s just too dangerous. Getting in and out of the jungle is dangerous.”

La Ciudad Blanca is a legendary settlement said to be located in the Mosquitia region of the Gracias a Dios Department in eastern Honduras. The ruins of the ‘City of the Monkey God’ were fully excavated in 2016 in the middle of the jungle.

John Beckett