Roz Chast drew a cartoon of herself as a child reading "The Big Book of Deadly Diseases." Also me. An honorable mention goes to MERS.
  1. Schistosomiasis
    Scary and involves water. Also the name is very sibilant and threatening.
  2. Cholera
    Perennial, disgusting, and too short of a time span for help to arrive.
  3. Leprosy
    Armadillos are the zoonoses and animal models for this. Have you ever seen a picture of an armadillo? They are creepy when healthy. Also, the thought of losing sensitivity so you do the real damage to yourself is too sad.
  4. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
    The scarier, quicker older brother to Lyme disease. No benefits are held for awareness of this motherfucker.
  5. Lassa fever
    80% of the time, it has no symptoms. 20% of the time, you get ALL the symptoms.
  6. Hepatitis A
    All the fun of jaundice with a dose of fecal transmission through contaminated food. Hey now, you're an all-star.
  7. Malaria
    It's the O.G., the thing that goes flu-like symptoms in the night. The last known person to get smallpox was a 27 year old named Ali. He survived, then died of malaria a few years later.