Grandmother Cutler's younger sister passed away from Smallpox as a young teenage girl. Smallpox is a virus that localizes in blood vessels in skin, mouth, and throat. Blisters and rashes develop. For those who survive, blindness can result. About 80% of those who had the disease in earlier times would die as a result. In 1967, not far off from the time period Dawn takes place, it was estimated that 15 million people got Smallpox and 2 million died that year. In December 1979, it became the only human infectious disease to have been eradicated.