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Viral Transformation

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When Chuck Norris is bitten by a zombie, he doesn't turn into a zombie. The zombie turns into Chuck Norris, naturally.

"Hey, Doctor Luce — this proteus nanovirus — isn't it supposed to, you know, go out of control infecting and transforming everyone, and like that?"
"Of course not. Not unless you design it to. Here's how."

There are forces, be they biological, mystical or technological, that can infect and change a person into something... else. These tend to be highly contagious, spreading easily via physical contact, bite, ritual, or other means. The changes are seldom subtle, and often quite a shock for the victim, who will likely wonder what they have become. On the plus side, the Viral Transformation is usually Cursed with Awesome, giving the "victim" Stock Superpower and the ability to give them to others.

By now you're probably wondering what the downside is to this, and why this "disease" hasn't been shared among all of humanity. Well, it's usually because it makes the transformees jerks. While it's not (always) The Virus, making those infected into Always Chaotic Evil, Mind Controlled servants to a Hive Queen who gladly eats puppies, it does lend itself to "Power Corrupts". Though the changes are mostly physical, the alterations may cause a change in perception because The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body, their new body has a Horror Hunger only sated by eating orphans (and it tastes good!), and With Great Power Comes Great Insanity.

Those responsible for infecting the victim may expect a Face–Heel Turn because the shock at the change will make them run to others like them, as well as Fantastic Racism making it likely they'll be alienated by their friends and family (this is especially likely if the transformation is less than cosmetically appealing). However; the choice to do so remains with the victim: they can consciously choose Transhuman Treachery, to stand apart and above of humanity, become Fully Embraced Fiends who enjoy their condition, to be Friendly Neighborhood Vampires and live among if not entirely in harmony with humanity, or even be a Pro-Human Transhuman and act the Sheep in Wolf's Clothing while becoming a Vampire Hunter.

Common examples of this include most forms of Lycanthropy and some forms of Vampirism. Expect those affected by a Viral Transformation to be tempted to help friends or loved ones with an Emergency Transformation or surprised when a blood donation turns into a Superhuman Transfusion. See also Virus-Victim Symptoms.

See also Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere. Compare The Corruption. Contrast with Transferred Transformation, where the recipient gets a transformation while the donor loses it, and Physical Attribute Swap, where two characters trade specific physical traits rather than proliferate them. A type of Face–Monster Turn.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blassreiter. After being infected with body-modification nanobots people become Made of Iron and can meld with various hardware, but generally also turn into omnicidal maniacs with hallucinations and/or damaged memory. Because the "Pale Rider" line of nanobots was designed this way and to that end. An original project was purely medical.
  • Becoming an Homunculus in the world of Buso Renkin sounds great — increased strength, a range of superpowers, Immortality, immunity to disease... but the fine print is that your diet now consists of people. And if you're not a super-special-awesome Human-type Homunculus, you go insane and become dominated by your instincts.
  • Used in the Manga series Dragon Eye, when the villains are created when the D-Virus changes them into a monster known as a Dracule. Anyone infected loses their identity and goes on a killing spree. Only a few, (about one in a hundred/thousand) have the antibody resistance that changes chance of infection from 100% to 10-0.1%.
  • Scary Monsters, the Stand of Doctor Ferdinand from JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run infects any living creature with a virus that turns them into a dinosaur under Ferdinand's control. Then the virus is spread by the dinosaurs themselves to practically create a zombie infestation... of dinosaurs. Diego Brando is later able to keep and control the infection on him due to obtaining the Saint's eye but Diego's version seems to lack the infecting properties.
  • The Eclipse infection in Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force. The good news is that, when infected, you gain powerful magic, Healing Factor, Anti-Magic, inexhaustible endurance, and a whole buttload of other stuff. The bad news is that, if you want to keep your life and sanity, you need to keep on killing to keep the infection in check.
  • In Uzumaki, most of the spiral transformations more or less come from out of nowhere and only hit a selected few individuals. However, the snail transformations seem contagious in their own way. The ones that start transforming into snails in the first place are always people who are physically slow, and then the ones who in any way hurt the snail people and/or their eggs will also be turned into snails.

    Comic Books 
  • The "Monstar Virus", pretty much Exactly What It Says on the Tin, in the Amory Wars. Used to turn Coheed and Cambria into "The Monstar" and "The White Ruineer" respectively.
  • From the The DCU, the rare West African virus Sakutia, upon infection, will transform the user by turning their skin and hair green. Some varieties will also grant the ability to transform into any animal. This is the source of the powers of Beast Boy. Most varieties are inevitably fatal.
  • Druuna comics have diseases that change people into tentacled monsters. But, this being a Porn with Plot comic, you can probably guess what happens next.
  • The Brood from Marvel comics propagate their species this way. They inject parasites into viable hosts (which is basically everyone) that gradually transform the hosts into more Brood. By the time the transformation's complete, the original psyche of the host is all but gone. Incredibly, despite being (nearly) Always Chaotic Evil, it's still possible to pity the Brood because this is the only way they can reproduce.
  • Also from the Marvel Universe is the Techno-Organic virus, which comes in a number of shapes and forms.
    • The most famous is probably Cable's virus, which is mostly kept in check by his vast Psychic Powers. It has infected others in the past, both on purpose (as a weapon) and accidentally, including the Tragic Villain of his 2017 series, Metus, a childhood friend of Cable's and a shapeshifter who got infected when young Cable lost control of the virus, becoming a Humanoid Abomination inhumanly obsessed with forcing Cable to be alone as he was. Cable eventually managed to lure him out and cure him by reabsorbing the virus, revealing that Metus hadn't aged.
    • The Technarchy's version, the Transmode virus, transforms living flesh into technology and allows them to feed on 'life-glow', and is also capable of resurrecting the dead — most notably, during the Necrosha event when Selene attempted to use it to resurrect all 16 million mutants who'd been killed on Genosha and then draining their lives to ascend to godhood.

    Fan Works 
  • Principal Celestia Hunts the Undead: Werebeasts can transmit their condition via biting, as can those infected by brain worms. Averted with true undead zombies, which have to be deliberately raised via black magic.
  • Unleashing of a Dark Night: This is how WereMobians are able to turn others into a Demi-WereMobian through their bites, though this is the only way the species themselves can cause a permanent transformation into a Demi-Were (another name for these particular WereMobians). This is also the case for anyone attacked by any of Dark Gaia's minions, though all of the characters are fortunate enough not to have this happen to them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bite deals with a young woman being transformed into a human-insect hybrid after being infected with a mutagenic virus via a bug bite.
  • Creepshow segment "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill". After the title character is infected with liquid from a meteorite, he slowly changes into a fungus creature. He manages to end his suffering by committing suicide with a shotgun. The infection is later shown spreading across the countryside, creating a beautiful verdant landscape.
  • In Daybreakers, humans are turned into vampires through a virus.
  • In District 9 this happens to the main character after being sprayed with the alien "Fluid."
  • The Lazarus Effect in an unusual case, being resurrected with a special serum has the side effect that the person brought back keeps making it. If they get a second injection, they can start producing it on their own, and if there's anyone near they want to resurrect...
  • George A. Romero's films cemented this concept with zombies and pretty much birthed the entire genre of the Zombie Apocalypse. Many many many works have followed since.
  • In the 2001 Sci Fi Channel telefilm Threshold an astronaut infected with alien DNA let loose moth-like carriers that infected other people. The government found the hybrids all had B negative blood and, furthermore, the hybrids had stolen a list from a blood bank so they could track down their targets. The title comes from the other governments of the world declaring the invaders had to be stopped before they reached a critical population or Southern California would be nuked to stop them.
  • Underworld has examples of both this and The Virus. The original flavor werewolves under William were all raving savages, but those who inherited it from Lucian spend most of their time in human form, and can eventually enter or leave were-form at will.
    • Then you have the various takes on the hybrids. The movies show two different hybrids (Marcus and Michael) and mention a third (Lucian and Sonya's unborn child). The first two involve a member of one species getting exposed to the blood (and virus) of the other. While the viruses normally annihilate each other, the presence of the "Corvinus strain" in both allowed the viruses to merge into something new. In Michael's case, his original Lycan strain retained dominance, making him appear vastly more human than an average Lycan. Marcus, who started as a vampire, attained more bat-like characteristics, although he did gain several Lycan ones as well. It is unknown what Lucian and Sonya's child would look like, given that it was equal parts Lycan and vampire, or if it would survive at all, given the mutually-destructive "relationship" the two virus strains have.
  • The Wolfman (2010) has lycanthropy transmitted this way via bite. In an interesting case, it goes from father to son when the protagonist is bitten.
  • In later films of The Matrix, this is what happens when you get the Smith virus.

  • Ambergris: Shriek: An Afterword: The fringe historian Duncan Shriek is the only human to discover a safe method to enter the underground realm of the Graycaps under the city of Ambergris, but this involved getting an esoteric fungal infection, which would in the course of the years transform him into a man-fungus hybrid who could only retain human shape through constant mental effort. The novel also features common people getting less extreme, though still bizarre-looking fungus infections out of the fungus bombs used during the civil war. And the sequel, Finch, has Partials, people who voluntarily go through this process to become akin to fungus cyborgs.
  • The Book of Dragons: In "Habitat", it's revealed that dragons reproduce by infecting other beings with a kind of disease, which can be transmitted through even a small nick from their fangs, claws or scales, incubates for anywhere from a few days to several years, and eventually transforms the victim into a new dragon. Even the victim's death won't halt this process.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Monsters II: As with most werewolves, the ones in First Kiss can spread their change to others.
  • Eden Green: An alien needle symbiote spreads across a small group of humans, gradually taking over their bodies as it heals their wounds. Each infectee can eventually reach milestones at which their brain and even entire body is made up of needles, with horrible mutations possible along the way.
  • The Mortal Instruments: This is common from exposure to angelic or demonic influences and/or bodily fluids.
    • The Shadowhunters received their special abilities from drinking the blood of the angel Raziel given to them in the Mortal Cup. New Shadowhunters can also be created this way, although the process is risky. Jonathan Morgenstern arranged the creation of the Infernal Cup, tainted by the blood of Lilith, which can turn humans and Shadowhunters into Dark Shadowhunters.
    • Consumption of angel or demon blood generally, even in dried form, can result in changes to a person or their offspring. Valentine, Jocelyn, Clary, Jace and especially Jonathan were all altered to some extent in this way due to Valentine's experimentation with the blood.
    • Vampires and werewolves are the descendants of two different species of demons. They can transmit their condition to humans, and even Shadowhunters, via bite.
  • In The Relic by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, a reovirus creates monsters out of anything that ingests it by inserting saurian and reptilian DNA into host cells; but the victim needs a steady supply of specialized hormones to retain its new form, the victim-turned-monster; in order to acquire these hormones, the victim must go right to the richest source available and eat the hypothalamus of its victims or go mad from the pain of being unable to sustain its new form.
  • Star Wars Legends: The virus in Galaxy of Fear: The Planet Plague turns people into Blob Monsters which infect any bare skin they touch. The virus itself gets shown in a microscope-equivalent and is deliberately being tested and spread, to see how many species barriers it can jump after being modified.
  • Vampire Academy:
    • This is the only way that Strigoi vampires can reproduce, by biting Moroi, dhampirs, or humans. First they drink the subject's blood, then share their own blood with the drained subject. The subject then turns into a new Strigoi, a transformation which the Strigoi call "awakening". The process can be involuntary for the subject.
    • There are exceptions in the cases of Moroi vampires who turn into Strigoi by themselves. They only have to kill a victim by draining it of blood.
  • This is the basis for the Wild Cards series of books. An alien virus gives some people super-powers and transforms others into "Jokers", who are sometimes not even recognizable as having been human. Well, at least if your particular draw included the ability to infect others. Despite the fact that xenovirus takis-A was a literal virus, it wasn't (normally) communicable.
  • Wilder Girls: An infectious disease called the Tox spreads in an all-girls school. The Tox manifests in wildly different forms for every person (or creature, as it also affects animals) it infects, and almost all of those manifest as this. Byatt's noted to be one of the relatively luckier girls, since "all" she has is a set of jagged bones from a second spine ripping through her back. Another girl develop a set of gills.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ilyria was played as a variant of this on Angel, infecting Fred after she inhaled dust from Illyria's sarcophagus and then turning her slowly into a shell. And it was stated that if the heroes saved Fred by having Illyria's essence drawn back into the Deeper Well, it would infect and kill everyone between LA and there.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In the classic series, we have the Krynoids. A Krynoid is a monstrous plant that converts animal organisms into Krynoids by touch. Two men were converted in the Krynoids' debut story, "The Seeds of Doom" (not to be confused with the earlier story "The Seeds of Death"). This so outraged Mary Whitehouse, a media watchdog, that she spoke out about the "obscene vegetable matter" being shown on Doctor Who, which she dubbed "teatime brutality for tots".
    • The Great Vampires from "State of Decay" reproduce like this.
    • "The Curse of Fenric" has the Haemovores, who are basically zombie-like aquatic vampires.
    • "The Empty Child"/"The Doctor Dances" has people being transformed into zombie-like beings with gas-masks fixed on their heads. The cause are alien medical nanorobots unfamiliar with humans, who took the first being encountered (a dead gasmasked boy) as a base template, and are now trying to "fix" the "sick" people. The problem is solved when the original boy's mother reveals herself and embraces her child. The nanobots figure out the correct human template and then quickly undo the damage.
    • "The Waters of Mars" sees people touched with infected water turned into zombie-like creatures that spray more infected water to spread the virus further.
    • "The End of Time": The Part 1 cliffhanger has the Master utilizing a device called the Immortality Gate to turn every human being on Earth into versions of the Master, except for Wilfred Mott, whom the Doctor placed in a radiation-proof chamber; and Donna Noble, who became half-Time Lord thanks to the events at the end of Series 4.
  • Kingdom (2019):
    • Initially averted: the first victim of a zombie is mauled to death, but did not transform into one himself. However, his body remained infectious, so the people who unknowingly ate his flesh later died and reanimated.
    • Played straight from then on — anyone bitten afterwards would very swiftly transform in a matter of minutes. The doctor who used the herb notices this and interprets it as a sign that the infection is mutating to become more effective.
    • It's also averted in the backstory, where Lords Ahn Hyeon and Cho Hak-ju have to slaughter the entire population of the village of Sumang and individually reanimate the bodies to create their undead army. Furthermore, none of the invading Japanese are shown reanimating and the survivors are defeated by a badly under-strength Korean force, suggesting that the infection wasn't transmissible.
  • Towards the end of Maddigan's Quest, it's revealed that Timon was injected with a virus based on the Nennog's DNA before being sent into the past. Once activated, it begins the job of turning him into the heir to the Nennog, granting him superhuman abilities, turning him evil and making him... less than entirely attractive (but, oddly, also more flirtatious than before).
  • The Stargate-verse loves this trope.
    • Stargate SG-1: A virus caused people to turn into cavemen (a minor version, it just gave them funny foreheads and heightened aggression). A nanotech version made O'Neill 100-years-old in a few days. Teal'c was bitten by a bug whose venom would have converted his total body mass into more bugs.
    • Stargate Atlantis: The Iratus bug retrovirus designed to "cure" Wraith does this. First it turned a female Wraith and then Sheppard into human/bug hybrids. Once perfected, it turned Wraith into humans. Michael, one such victim, took it and used it to make Wraith/human hybrids.
    • Stargate Universe: Chloe was infected with a virus by some aliens which appears to be turning her into one of them, or something close. At first it was mental, but then things got worse.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise
    • The third season had an episode where Archer and several of the main cast were being converted into a different species by a virus, a last-ditch attempt by that species to preserve themselves. They manage to cure it by the end, though Archer keeps a sample so something of that species will remain.
    • The fourth season reveals that the Klingon loss of forehead appliques in Star Trek: The Original Series was due to an attempt to splice the DNA of augmented humans into their own genome, only for a virus to mutate due to exposure and start spreading augment DNA to everyone infected. The loss of forehead ridges was one of the side effects, and wasn't reversed by the cure, though in a couple generations the trait would come back into dominance again, in time for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (and the other early 80s movies) and Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • In Season 2 of Supergirl, J'onn discovers that a blood transfusion from a White Martian is now causing him to turn into a White Martian.
  • Teen Wolf: Scott becomes a werewolf once Peter Hale bites him in the woods.
  • The X-Files once had a reversal of how this usually plays, mostly fueled by Rule of Funny: a lizard-man gets bitten by a man and thus transforms into a human periodically.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Cybergeneration, a sequel to Cyberpunk, is run on the premise that a nanite infection will kill anyone over the age of 16. If you're under 16 you survive... or change.
  • Dungeons & Dragons: The scratches of the blue slaad transmit a magical disease called chaos phage. Anyone who succumbs to the phage transforms into a red slaad, which can make more blue slaads by impregnating people with Chest Burster tadpoles.
  • Shadowrun: The "Cognitive Fragmentation Disorder" seems to work this way, with the new AI building technological parts out of nanites in the host.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Spikers are plants native to the jungles of Catachan that, when disturbed by the motion of a passing creature, fire their spines in every direction. Any creature struck by these projectiles will, over the course of a day, transform into a new spiker plant.
  • Werewolf: The Apocalypse: Werewolves and most other werebeasts are actually hereditary rather than contagious, but were-ravens and ratkin both transform normal humans (or animals) rather than breeding. Ravens do this by creating a "spirit egg" that they bond to a child or fledgling, while ratkin using a rite that usually kills the prospective ratkin.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!: The process of becoming an Amorphage involves a scaled up bacteriophage attaching itself to your body and dragonic body parts sprouting from your body. In some cases, the transformed retains characteristics of its previous self such as Olga having its original head on top of its new one.

    Video Games 
  • Borderlands' first expansion, the horror movie themed The Zombie Island of Dr. Ned, has both zombies and Wereskags (skags being the planet's equivalent to dogs/wolves). Both transmit their infection/curse via bites.
  • In The Elder Scrolls series, Vampirism and Lycanthropy are actually diseases (though divine in origin) which can be spread via any wound inflicted by a carrier of the disease. In the case of vampirism, it starts off fairly innocuous (fatigue, insomnia, nightmares) and is easily cured within the first few days of being contracted. Porphyric Hemophilia, Sanguinare Vampiris and Noxiphilic Sanguivoria are a few of the diseases that develop into full-blown Vampirism. Lycanthropy functions similarly, although in some cases consuming the blood of a lycanthrope can cause the disease to immediately take effect.
  • Everyone is infected in Left 4 Dead. If you're lucky, nothing about you changes and you become a carrier/survivor. If you're unlucky, you become a common infected. If you're EXTREMELY unlucky, you become a special infected.
  • In Lost Souls (MUD), a local implementation of NetHack's "eating a mind flayer makes you smarter" makes it so that eating the neural tissue of the vlekthid (read illithid) or gogtzul (read Star-Spawn of Cthulhu) races results in that neural tissue colonizing your own nervous system, making you smarter and less emotional, and giving you both psionic powers and often-crippling mental disorders.
  • The Reapers from the Mass Effect series possess this ability. While they are content with simply killing all intelligent life that opposes them, their main goal is to "harvest" those they abduct and use their genetic material to make more Reapers. Besides the two-kilometer-tall Capital Ships, they also mutate individuals into ground forces, and once a ground force troop manages to bite/scratch an individual, the attacked begin transforming into a Reaper ground troop themselves.
    Garrus Vakarian: It ensures you never run out of cannon fodder. Eliminates any local resistance. And for every soldier you add, your enemy loses two: the one you converted, and his buddy on the other side who can't pull the trigger on a friend.
  • Mitochondria Eve of Parasite Eve fame is basically a sentient and controlled version of this by manipulating the mitochondria cells in any biological lifeform, whether it be man or beast. The beasts get some pretty wicked transformations. The humans however...not so much.
  • Redlight and Blacklight from [PROTOTYPE]. Redlight is a completely straight version of The Virus, which transforms people into braindead, malformed husks serving Elizabeth Greene, while Blacklight is a Viral Transformation. The player character, Alex Mercer is essentially a corpse reanimated by Blacklight, and although he is a Jerkass Anti-Hero with horrifying powers, he's significantly less evil than the real Alex Mercer was in life.
  • Albert Wesker of Resident Evil is infected with such a virus. It is not particularly transmissible, but it does make him something of an unstoppable badass.
  • The Zerg Swarm of StarCraft employs a hyper-evolutionary virus that mutates its victims into Zerg hybrids, dispersed by virophages and certain Zerg strains as a mean of crippling the enemy and bolstering their own numbers. Most human victims of the virus became infested terrans - shambling zombies that live to serve as the Swarm's cannon fodder - but there has been a few cases of the virus being used on exceptional individuals to create new leaders for the Swarm.
  • Members of the Many in System Shock 2 undergo this, tending to leave behind a lot of Apocalyptic Logs. While some engage in Transhuman Treachery, a large amount of the creepiness is delivered by the poor Red Shirts who beg you to flee while they're unwillingly chasing you.
  • Played for laughs with Australium from Team Fortress 2, which induces Testosterone Poisoning upon those who use it. Specifically, this causes men to become incredibly muscular and grow impressive body and facial hair. As such, Australians in the setting are a race of hyper-advanced Boisterous Bruisers with mustachioed women.

  • In Be Calm, it quickly becomes apparent that being exposed to the air in the underground facility for too long can have seriously bad effects. Namely, mutating your body until you turn into a monstrous killing machine. The ARG attached to the reboot hints that part of the facility's original purpose was to figure out a way of studying these mutations in a controlled environment.
  • In El Goonish Shive, whoever touches the Dewitchery Diamond while under a "curse" (for a very loose definition of a curse) will be split into their normal state and a duplicate who not only is the embodiment of the "curse" as applied to the original person but who can spread it to others no matter what the nature of the curse is. Fortunately, if the "curse" is easily reversed, the people the duplicate transforms can have the transformation reversed just as easily.
  • It's not exactly clear where all the "devils" in Sinfest came from, but at least some of them were originally human, and one of those has shown the ability to transform animals into their demonic equivalents. (Similarly, holy power can turn a devil human. The strip's version of Jesus spends a lot of time undoing transformations that its version of Satan has inflicted.)
  • Sssnake Eyesss, a short comic by The Shadow Demon on DeviantArt, has a legendary snake (in a zoo for some reason) whose stare will turn you into Snake People. Who inherit the trait. A girl subjects herself to it as a Scare Dare, naturally discovers the legend to be true and accidentally spreads the condition to bystanders in the sequel. (The one guy enjoys it and proceeds to fertilize some eggs.)
  • The Rugaru in Wilde Life causes anyone who sees it to transform — rapidly, agonizingly, and irreversibly — into another Rugaru. This horrifies Cliff when he realizes that the monsters he killed to save Oscar used to be human.

    Web Original 
  • A Shared Universe called The Blind Pig — and its reboot/successor Pig and Whistle — take place after a virus with unknown origins spreads throughout the Earth. A lot of the people who get it die. Some percentage of the survivors transform. A smaller percent of them get unusual abilities.
  • The Paradise setting involves a "reality virus" that transforms humans into Funny Animals at a rate that doubles every year.
  • The world of Taerel Setting has the kin'toni virus, a sickness made in a lab to make super soldiers. In a few weeks it turns the infected into a kin'toni, a strong, fast, and deadly predator. It is unknown if there is a cure as it is never brought up.

    Western Animation 
  • King: In "Monsteritis", Cliff catches it when he gets bitten by a Frobish that had wandered into Russel's room. Monsteritis slowly turns whoever is infected with it into a monster, and the only cure is to eat the mouth slime of a Dongo Worm, which resides in the Uncertain City.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: "A Health of Information" introduces swamp fever, a rase disease contracted by breathing in the pollen of a certain swamp flower. Its initial symptoms are a bit odd — orange spots all over the victim's body, then coughing up bubbles, then sneezing small lightning bolts — but nothing too worrying as far as this trope goes. Things change when the disease reaches its end stage, at which point branches start growing out of the orange spots and the victim is permanently turned into a tree — the very same kind of tree that grows the flowers whose pollen spreads swamp fever.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the Halloween special "Night of the Living Pharmacists", Heinz Doofenshmirtz turns his brother Roger into a clone of himself. Unfortunately, Doof's -inator malfunctions and causes the transformation to spread. Danville is quickly overrun by a horde of Dr. Doofenshmirtz clones moaning "Lots of me..." and turning everyone else into "Doofenzombies".
  • Steven Universe: While most corrupted Gems got that way from exposure to a Brown Note Fantastic Nuke the Diamonds used against the Crystal Gems, it will also spread to any healthy Gem they fuse with. This is because The Corruption and Fusion are both mental and physical effects. This ends up happening to Jasper when she fuses with a corrupted Gem during a moment of desperation.
  • The Bio-mechs in Vor Tech were infected with a technological plague transforming them into creatures much like the Phalanx in the X-Men comic book titles.