“Of love and other demons”: depicting human rabies in Colombia

Project: Research Project

Project Details


In one of his masterpieces, the Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez, one of the most remarkable exposers of magical realism in Latin America, summarizes the tragedy of a girl, known as Sierva María, who was bitten by a rabid dog. At that moment, the 17th century in Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, the lack of scientific knowledge, as well as the Catholic influence over its population made it difficult -for the physicians at that epoch- to distinguish whether it was a case of human rabies or a “demonic possession” (1).
This article aims to present the current epidemiological status of human rabies in Colombia while reviewing historical aspects of the disease presented in García Márquez’s book and other literary sources.

Layman's description

Human rabies, epidemiology, Colombia, literature


Human rabies, epidemiology, Colombia, literature
Effective start/end date6/1/1912/31/21

UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Main Funding Source

  • Installed Capacity (Academic Unit)


  • Bogotá D.C.


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