I'm currently listening to the audio versions of the multi-part Lyndon Johnson biography by Robert Caro and, especially for those who like the Netflix series House of Cards, it is a must read as it portrays naked power-lust and secondhandedness on a grand scale.
One infectious disease tidbit that I found in the books is interesting. Describing Lady Bird Johnson, the books relate that as a child she was so afraid of public speaking that she hoped that if she ended up salutatorian or valedictorian of her high school and was required to give a speech at graduation, she would contract smallpox and be excused. She ended up 3rd in her class.
That's a bad case of stage fright for a future First Lady.
With a mortality rate that could reach 30%, wishing for chickenpox or influenza would be much more advisable than hoping for smallpox.
Today, modern stage fright sufferers don't have the "luxury" of wishing smallpox on themselves as DA Henderson has removed that option.