I immediately go to what I refer to as "Google University" and type in "killer California virus" in the news search engine. What comes up is not a recent story but one from about a year ago about fungal infections caused by a spores. The following is from a CNN news piece from April 2010:
|Image courtesy of healthyairusa.com|
The thing that stuck out for me was the death rate of 25% of infected individuals. Though it infected relatively few people, 1:4 died. The next striking thing when I delved more into it is that some were healthy people without pre-existing conditions. Though, some were immunocompromised as well. Immunocompromised patients typically can have a difficult time fighting fungal infections. Here's a JAMA article about Cryptococcus gattii.
The last thing that was fascinating was its infection among animals and humans. That got me thinking... fungal infections typically aren't transmitted from person to person. You're generally infected by directly inhaling the spores. What if it mutated so that it was transmitted from person to person and carried a death rate of 25% for all people? That was my first plot idea.
Does this real life fungus give you any plot ideas? List one in the comments section.