Top 6 Scariest, Deadliest (Fictional) Viruses

Blood of Eden Public Service posterEveryone hates being sick. But the virus in The Eternity Cure, the second book in Julie Kagawa’s Blood of Eden series, makes the flu look like the sniffles. For one thing, the disease affects both humans and vampires, so nobody’s safe. For another, it’s a strain of the Red Lung virus, which already wiped out most of humanity generations ago. Will Allison be able to find a cure before it’s too late? You can start reading The Eternity Cure right here on Figment to find out!

This insane disease definitely makes for a page-turner. It also got us thinking about some other scary fictional viruses. These diseases set the scenes for awesome stories, but we sure wouldn’t want to come down with one. Which one is the most terrifying? Vote for your favorite now! Which ones did we leave out? Let us know in the comments.

danny boyle, 28 weeks laterRage

28 Days Later

Rage is super contagious: it takes only one bite to spread, and once you’re infected, you start showing symptoms in seconds. What are these symptoms, you ask? Oh, you know, you just turn into a bloodthirsty zombie. Even as far as zombie apocalypse movies go, this one is pretty horrifying.



michael crichtonThe Andromeda Strain

 The Andromeda Strain

Even though the Andromeda Strain comes from outer space, it seems perfectly designed to destroy humans. It causes massive blood clots, and if you somehow manage to survive that, you start to go insane. We’d do anything to keep this virus away from Earth at all costs.



ender's game, orson scott cardThe Descolada

Ender’s Game Series

Much like the virus in The Eternity Cure, the Descolada can adapt itself to affect any life form. What’s this one do? It literally unravels your DNA, causing all kinds of terrible mutations. The worst part is that nobody knows who created it or why—any explanation is possible.



gwyneth paltrow, matt damon, marion cotillardMEV-1


At first, MEV-1 appears to be just your average cold. But the virus causes a few things that the common cold doesn’t: namely, seizures, brain hemorrhages, and ultimately death. The scariest part? It’s based on an actual disease. Thanks for making us paranoid every time we sneeze, Contagion.



spattergroit, deathly hallows, jk rowlingSpattergroit from the

Harry Potter Series

To be fair, we never see anyone actually get spattergroit, but it still sounds like a pretty awful sickness. You get covered in purple warts, and once it spreads to your uvula, you can’t speak. There is a cure, but to be honest, we’d rather not stand naked in a barrel of eels’ eyes with toad livers tied around our necks.



Shanti Virus


Not only does the Shanti Virus prevent super-humans from using their powers, it’s super contagious and kills off regular humans by the millions. Plus, it can stay dormant for long periods of time, so you might not know you have it until it’s too late. We’d take a case of strep throat over this any day.



Which of these viruses would you be most horrified to be diagnosed with? Vote now! Be sure to let us know which diseases we missed in the comments, and if you want to read more about crazy illnesses, you can start reading The Eternity Cure now!

Can’t see the survey? Click here!

61 thoughts on “Top 6 Scariest, Deadliest (Fictional) Viruses

  1. What about Captain Tripps from The Stand? Extremely contagious, deadly, spreads quickly, kills quickly, starts out seeming like you’ve got a normal cold, etc.

    • Yeah. I mean come on, it’s like that classic disease story. Contagion’s beginning part is like the first 100 pages of The Stand. It just leaves out all the symbolism and good vs. evil plot.

  2. I love how no matter what the contest, either Harry Potter or Avatar is bound to win XD, nice to know I’m not the only completely biased one out there!

  3. ooorrrrr what about Chemica Desin from the 7th episode of Tower Prep?? No? Was I the only one who watched that show?
    (well it really wasn’t a virus but more of an inhibitor…but it was transmitted like a virus.)

  4. There’s also the Raison Stain from Ted Dekker’s Circle trilogy. Since it was an airborne virus, it had the capability to wipe out the whole human race within two weeks.

  5. @Eileen: YES!!! That’s what I was waiting for! Because that’s pretty scary too.
    @Suri: Yes. I am a Harry Potter nerd, and if HP is an option, it will be my choice.

  6. Really? Why didn’t you guys add the mutated rhinovirus from The Tomorrow Code? When I read that, I was freaked out every single time I sneezed. Even though it doesn’t really infect you – it still ultimately causes death and really, really, really freaks people out.

  7. What about the Sweating Sickness from Alanna: The First Adventure? It’s a magical fever that’s so strong it drains healers strength to the point that they can die. So the people that normally cure you die from trying. Like imagine a virus that targeted doctors trying to cure said virus.

  8. What about the “walker disease” from The Walking Dead? It may not kill you on it’s own, but fall off a ladder, knock your noggin, and all the sudden you’re chasing granny around the front garden trying to eat her face. Pretty bad deal if you ask me, besides *spoiler alert if you’re really behind in TWD* everyone has it. It’s not a matter of if, it’s a matter of when.

  9. My first pick was MEV-1 because it’s based on an actual disease. My second was spattergroit (gosh that sounds awful).

  10. I read the Andromeda Strain when I was about seven– great idea, parents, really appreciate that. So perhaps it’s only my childhood trauma, but I’d pick that one any day. XD

  11. Honestly, I think the Croatoa (sp?) virus from Supernatural is the scariest. I don’t even like to rewatch those episodes.

  12. What about the Phage from Star Trek? Pretty scary to me! You start with horrible joint pain, so bad people actually die from it. Then, it messes with your genetic code, eats away your body, and destroys your cell structure. There’s no cure, and it evolves constantly to withstand whatever medicine you throw at it. Possibly worst of all, you get serious horrible disfigurement (I’m talking making children cry). Though spattergroit is pretty bad!

  13. Eh, does that state of literally hosting an alien baby parasite in your chest count as a disease? It’s not contagious like these, but the death it brings is pretty horrifying. Besides, it’ll terrify all your starship crew mates when they think you’re healthy.

  14. When we were studying diseases in biology, bearing in mind we’re a top set class, it was seriously considered that we’d get a copy of the DVD of Contagion, to study the disease, to be fair, we did have a cool science teacher

  15. Are we talking the mutated strain of the Shanti Virus which wipes out 98% (or something like that) of the population in the alternate future? Also, I feel must say, although Harry Potter is completely amazing, Spattergroit doesn’t deserve to win, the others are much worse.

  16. What about the human parvo-virus from the Virals series? It won’t kill you and it seemed kinda cool, but it’s still kinda creepy to some people.

  17. What about the blood plague from Witch and Wizard: The Fire? I don’t know about you but I’d hate to not be able to talk to my brother because I couldn’t stop coughing up blood, knowing I was most likely going to die.

  18. None of these diseases really scare me all that much. I mean, they all sound pretty bad, but having read several books and articles about the Ebola and Marburg viruses, and then about several painful parasites, I think I’d rather get some of the imaginary illnesses than some of the real ones that still plague humanity.

  19. Okay, seriously, Harry Potter fans? I like HP, too, but that doesn’t mean I automatically vote for it. Spattergroit is not scary. It’s gross, but not scary. It’s probably the tamest and lamest on this list, except for Rage, which is just you’re average zombie plague and therefore too cliché to be scary.

    Chen-7, the Reset, or the combination of every disease ever (from Doctor Who, Torchwood, and DW again), anyone? Those were pretty terrifying to me.

  20. ((So sorry for double post))

    The diseases from Epitaph Road were also pretty darn terrifying if I do say so myself.

  21. The bio-engineered nanovirus in the novel Fury of the Fifth Angel wipes out 99% of the world’s population in just days. The survivors can’t even breath the air without getting sick. That’s one extreme virus!

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