Probably something well known to VTers of a certain age, but not something I knew until recently.
The last person to be killed by smallpox did so in Birmingham. Janet Parker was a biological photographer working at the University of Birmingham in 1978, a year after the last verified case of naturally occurring smallpox was recorded. Parker suddenly became unwell, suffering with a headache that soon was joined by a rash that covered her entire body. She was diagnosed with smallpox shortly afterwards, at what is now Heartlands hospital, and transported to Catherine-de-Barnes Isolation Hospital, near Solihull. She died there a month after falling ill.
The outbreak caused nearly a thousand people to be either quarantined, placed under house arrest or given emergency vaccinations. Parker's mother caught the virus, but lived. Her father died of a suspected heart attack in quarantine and couldn't have a post mortem due to infection concerns. Parker's body couldn't be held in cold storage due to fears the virus could multiply in the mortuary so instead was left in a body bag filled with sawdust on the floor of a garage nearby. The funeral procession had a police escort to prevent any possibility of an accident on the road, and the body had to be cremated lest the virus survive in the ground, and even the crematorium was deep cleaned afterwards.
But how did she get the virus? Nobody knows. She worked in an office and dark room which was on a floor above a lab at the uni which was studying a particularly nasty strain of smallpox, which it is largely accepted was what infected her. But nobody knows how she actually came into contact with the virus. An inquiry into the incident posited that she had contracted the virus through airborne transmission, most likely following a day where she had spent an extended period in a room immediately above the lab where the virus was being studied. But nobody actually believes this is what happened as the amount of the virus that would need to have been in the air for this to happen was so high it's impossible this is what happened - which formed the basis of the university's successful defence in the subsequent prosecution. The inquiry did make conclusions about the state of health and safety procedures at the university and lead to wholesale changes in how viruses were studied in the UK, but ultimately nobody knows how Janet Parker came into contact with the virus, only that she did and she did so at work somehow.
The incident lead to all samples of smallpox worldwide being transferred to 2 WHO facilities, one in the US, one in Russia. And the debate has continued since then as to whether we should just completely destroy the remaining samples. Smallpox itself was announced as having been eradicated in 1980 (Parker's death contributing to this date as the WHO was preparing to announce its eradication at the time she died), and to this day is the only human contagious disease to be made essential extinct.
The head of the university unit studying the virus, Henry Bedson, committed suicide shortly before Parker's death. He had been strongly criticised and effectively held responsible for the outbreak soon after it became public knowledge. He slit his throat in his shed on Harborne, leaving a note apologising for betraying the trust of his friends and colleagues.
Oh, and the isolation hospital Janet Parker died in? The ward she was on was abandoned as it stood the day she died, and once smallpox was declared extinct it was decided the was no point keeping an isolation hospital open any longer. The building was fumigated and less than a decade after her death, turned into luxury flats. I suspect they don't mention smallpox thing.