The paper analyzes the representations of women’s health and disease associated with the epidemic of smallpox in the Habsburg Monarchy during the reign of empress Maria Theresa, which is thematized in Croatian writer Marija Jurić Zagorka’s novel cycle Grička vještica (The Witch of Grič). Health and disease are considered as gendered experiences and, accordingly, gender coding strategies are investigated. The paper considers the role of discourses of infectious disease in establishing notions of female beauty, desirable and undesirable female bodies, controlling women’s lives, and establishing gender and intra-gender hierarchies. It also investigates the impact of the infectious disease on the creation of fears and taboos related to human health, disease and disability and the (re)production of negative attitudes and discriminatory practices related to notions of “normal” and “abnormal” human bodies. It analyzes how the impact of contagious disease on monarchical marriage policy is represented, in which women’s health and beauty function as erotic and political capital, and through it the impact of contagion on sociopolitical relations.