Top 10 Most Fearsome Fictional Viruses and Diseases

Tags: #ResidentEvil ,   #virus ,   #TheWalkingDead ,   #TheLastOfUs

Dan N. Scarborough

Dan N. Scarborough

Last updated:  2023-05-13 18:00:08

During 2020 the world witnessed a horrific Covid-19 spread. The pandemic was compared by many to the end of the world, and global images showed lifeless dystopian areas. The bizarre experience of surviving the pandemic demonstrated why such scenarios are frequent plot devices in science fiction. Creative, fascinating approaches investigate the effects of viral epidemics in pandemic movies, television shows, video games, and literature. There are certain lessons to be learned from imaginary diseases and viruses, frequently highlighting the virtues and shortcomings of society as a whole. Thus, we'll expose some of the most horrific fictional viruses and diseases in works of pop culture.

10. Rage Virus 

Activism killed the most people on the planet
Source: "28 Days Later"
Type of Disease: Laboratory virus
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

A victim of rage exhibits intense anger ten to thirty seconds after contracting the condition. Unfortunately, any bodily fluid can easily transmit the disease. Furthermore, one person could infect a crowd of hundreds in a matter of minutes due to this disease's extraordinary contagiousness and short incubation period.

One animal was liberated by activists unaware of the virus when the sickness was being tested on animals. Except for a few fortunate people who managed to survive, the sickness quickly spread to wipe out the entire population of Britain. However, since they do not consume their victims, infected creatures go extinct in a few months due to malnutrition. They appear to slobber blood continuously, speeding up their demise.

9. The Thing Cells 

These poor bastards in the snow
Source: "The Thing"
Type of Disease: Alien Parasite
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: By fire

Triangle-pyramid viruses are the basis of monsters called Things. If it infects another animal, it merges with every cell therein and takes complete control of the victim. Each infected cell develops into a distinct life form with its own survival instincts. An infected cell will seek out other cells to infect with its virus and cooperate with other infected cells to mimic life forms. 

Because infected cells can multiply quickly and change shape, and because they are dislocated, infected host tissue fragments will also change shape and separate into new entities. Only destroying every single cell can kill the infected host. Last but not least, they tend to keep the knowledge and skills of their hosts, enabling the virus to precisely resemble any individual and go unnoticed.

8. The Simian Flu

Road to hell is paved with good intentions
Source: "The Planet of the Apes" 
Type of Disease: Retrovirus 
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

Gen-sys Laboratories created a genetically altered retrovirus meant to treat Alzheimer's disease. Due to their immune systems, humans were only temporarily cured by the ALZ-112, while their ape counterparts' IQ was boosted. 

A more potent version of the medicine called ALZ-113 evolved into a virus that spread through contact and the air, killing 90 percent of the world's population. Only the 10 percent immune to the virus survived. Humans exposed to it experienced symptoms like headaches, sore throats, fevers, vomiting, red eyes, coughing, and ultimately death. However, it turns apes' irises green, boosts their brains above typical people's, and changes their vocal cords to those of humans.

7. Wildfire Virus

This one spreads fast, hence the name
Source: "The Walking Dead" 
Type of Disease: Zombie Virus 
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

When it infects a person, the illness spreads to the host's cells and eventually causes it to die clinically. Fever, headache, weariness, disorientation, hallucinations, and paralysis are signs that appear before the victim's clinical death. The illness has a brief (16 hours or less) incubation period

After the victim's clinical death, the host will be revived and awakened with zombie-like behavior. However, the sickness will only stimulate lower brain function, particularly those controlled by the brainstem, where eating and motor functions are. The host develops into a vicious, mindless cannibal who can spread the disease to others by biting them. The sickness causes civilization to disintegrate and ushers in the zombie apocalypse.

6. The Pax

What happens when you try to improve humans
Source: "Serenity" 
Type of Disease: Chemical Toxin 
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

Reavers are a terrifying race in the Firefly universe who torment and devour everybody they come across. Although they are the actual bad guys, we only know a little about their history. Yet, in the film "Serenity," the vicious space cannibals' true nature is finally shown.

To soothe the populace and reduce hostility, the Alliance released an experimental chemical known as the Pax into the atmosphere. But it calmed people to the point that they ceased acting in any way, even eating. However, 0.1% of the population experienced the virus's opposite effects, evolving into the vicious Reavers who now prowl the solar system's periphery.

5. The Wild Card Virus

Death, mutations, or superpowers, it's a lottery
Source: "The Wild Card" novel series 
Type of Disease: Alien Virus 
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

A virus developed on the extraterrestrial planet Takis is experimentally released on Earth towards the conclusion of World War II. Some 90% of victims pass away immediately after exposure, and the remaining 10% develop unique mutations. The bulk of survivors turn into monsters known as Jokers, but a select few become Aces after acquiring superhuman abilities.

It is unpredictable how the mutation will impact each individual. The series has tens of volumes of short stories so far. Authors can be imaginative inside the series' universe because of the special effects of the Wild Card virus.

4. Tyrant Virus (T-Virus)

The most famous video game virus
Source: "Resident Evil" video games
Type of Disease: Laboratory Virus 
Level of Danger: High
Treatable: No

Tyrant Virus, also known as T-Virus, is highly contagious, causing cellular necrosis in humans and other animals. Hence, the infected turn into hard-to-kill zombie-like monsters. The virus primarily disseminates through liquids, such as bodily fluids and water. It is simple to mutate into different strains, some of which can cause mutagenesis in the host.

In mammals, the effects include aggression, mild to moderate physiological alterations, and a significantly accelerated rate of evolution. Nonetheless, some people, like Albert Wesker and Alexia Ashford, may form bonds with the T-virus and its variants. Therefore, they acquire superhuman speed, strength, and unusual abilities while preserving their personalities. The NE-T virus is one example of several variations.

3. The Andromeda Strain

This alien threat is not negotiable or fightable
Source: "The Andromeda Strain" 
Type of Disease: Alien Bacteria 
Level of Danger: Extreme
Treatable: By air

The story opens with the crash of a military satellite in Piedmont, Arizona, built to collect extraterrestrial germs for use as bioweapons. Soon after, all of the town except for an older man and a baby pass away from rapid blood clotting.

The Andromeda microorganism is incredibly adept at killing people. The novel's emphasis on attempting a scientific analysis of the extraterrestrial threat lends the science fiction story a sense of unsettling realism. There are no intelligent alien beings to bargain with or battle. Just a scientific puzzle that, if unanswered, would lead to the extinction of humanity.

2. Krippin Virus (KV)

KV turns people into vampiric creatures
Source: "I Am Legend"
Type of Disease: Pathogenic virus
Level of Danger: Extreme
Treatable: Yes

A genetically altered measles virus initially developed as a "wonder treatment" for cancer transformed into a deadly, highly pathogenic strain. Less than 1% of people have immunity to KV, which has a death rate of 90%. Inhalation and contaminated blood are the pathogen's two transmission vectors, each having two related immunity profiles.

Humans who were infected but did not pass away started showing early rabies signs and deteriorated into a rage-filled state. The outcome is an increased body temperature, heart rate, and breathing rate, which causes chronic hyperventilation in sick people. Another sign is hair loss on the body. KV may also infect animals unrelated to humans, such as rats and dogs. The infected humans are blood-sensitive, resembling vampires.

1. Cordyceps Fungus

If fungi take over, we lose
Source: "The Last of Us"
Type of Disease: Fungi Parasite 
Level of Danger: Extreme
Treatable: No

The Last of Us video game series is well known for its original perspective on zombies and its emotionally compelling narrative. In this universe, the Cordyceps fungus has evolved to infect human brains, transforming them into aggressive, bloodthirsty beings determined to spread the fungus as fast as possible.

In the video game The Last of Us, the mutant Cordyceps strain infects us by poisoning our food supply. The parasitic Cordyceps infection causes a total mental collapse in its host after just two days of exposure. Then, the fungus continues to alter the host beyond recognition and irreversibly. Cordyceps infection described in the game remains the same, even if we know that the HBO series is changing some aspects of the sickness, such as no longer having it spread by airborne spores.

Some authors enjoy inflicting pain on their characters. Because of this, they spread dreadful diseases over their worlds for pleasure and social commentary. Although these diseases aren't real, they hit too close to home and cause extreme uneasiness. There's always a lingering feeling that these viruses are just one lab error away from pouring into our world.

What's your favorite (or least favorite) fictional disease? Which ones would you add to the list?

Cover photo: 0fjd125gk87/Pixabay



Add new Comment

Characters 0 of 1000

Thank you for comment

Similar Articles

Latest Articles

Top 5 Articles

Trending Articles

Sponsor Ads