Pharaoh Ramses V had it. The 6th century Chinese thought you could cure it by wearing red. Its introduction to Mexico by conquistadors hastened the demise of the Aztecs. The devastating disease blanketed its victims in blisters which, after bursting and healing, left hideous scars and sometimes caused blindness. Nearly one in three who caught it died.
Edward Jenner developed the first vaccine for small pox in 1796. Thanks to one of the most effective vaccination programs in history, the virus that causes small pox, Variola, has been officially declared eradicated. The last case of small pox was seen in 1977. Some governments, however, keep vaccine stockpilea in case of a bioterrorism incident.