Sweating sickness, also known as the sweats, English sweating sickness or English sweat or (Latin) sudor anglicus, was a mysterious and contagious disease that struck England and later continental Europe in a series of epidemics beginning in 1485. The last outbreak occurred in 1551, after which the disease apparently vanished. The onset of symptoms was sudden, with death often occurring within hours. Sweating sickness epidemics were unique compared to other disease outbreaks of the time. Where other epidemics were typically urban and long-lasting, cases of sweating sickness spiked and receded very quickly and heavily affected rural populations. Its cause remains unknown, although it has been suggested that an unknown species of hantavirus was responsible.