A few days ago I noticed my stylish neighbor and friend's new shoes and was immediately reminded of smallpox. That might seem an odd connection but look at them.
Smallpox is a disease that has cut a huge swath into human history. The successful effort to eradicate smallpox began with the inception of vaccination by Edward Jenner and stretched to the fatal blow to the disease struck by DA Henderson centuries later.
Not only has smallpox been a natural scourge on human populations, but it has also been attempted to be used nefariously multiple times. For example, it was employed by the British army in the French and Indian War. Other times when smallpox may have been used as a weapon of war include by the British army against Washington's army and the Confederate army against the Union army. In fact, General Washington had the Revolutionary Army variolated--a precursor to vaccination--in the event of British use of the virus (see this hand written letter by Washington on the issue).
Iraq and the former Soviet Union had also weaponized the virus.
Current debate regarding smallpox is centered on whether the last remaining known stocks of the virus, kept at the CDC and by the Russian government, should be destroyed. This year's World Health Assembly in Geneva will decide the question.
Smallpox shoes may be in vogue, but I prefer Vans.