You know what else likes to share and be shared? Communicable Diseases.
Cough Cannonballs off port, Cap'in! Snot Shots, Ahoy!
Any time you venture into public, particularly in the autumn, the dude with the cooties is guaranteed to invade your personal space -- especially if you take an elevator -- with a hacking, sneezing, sniffling fit. It doesn't matter where the spray is aimed -- hand, elbow, shoulder, petite flower standing in front of him -- everyone within ear shot feels the cooties latching on to them. The flu-in-the-elevator moment has been used by more than one horror novelist to pull back the curtain of civility and drop-kick the reader on the roller coaster of the world going to hell.
First comes Pestilence, then comes Plague, then comes Famine emptying the baby carriage...
Strangely enough, YouTube didn't have a video of elementary school kids singing that. Oh, don't look shocked. Children of a certain age are incredibly morbid and really like switching out words to get a rise out of the adults. Of course, when kids come back from Bible School with that particular ditty, I'm assured the newest generation will be as warped as mine.
But, but, but what about the diseases that aren't contagious? The ones that are all about the individual's body giving them the royal Eff You out of the blue? For some authors, that's the launching point for revealing the paranormal. For other stories, it's a reason for the villain to be so dastardly or the hero to be so determined.
Disease: it's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict all in one. It has so many variants that it's endless fodder for fiction. It's so relateable, the average reader is ready to suspend disbelief and ride the story's crazy train.
Yeah, I got a disease, and it's revealed on page 3.