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No good book, movie, video game, or TV series is complete without at least one fictional illness. If an invented world is truly realistic, its protagonists grapple with similar problems to the ones people do IRL. In some cases, writers go above and beyond to take existing diseases to the next level (we're looking at you, Last of Us) while others take it upon themselves to dream up brand new ailments.

Some of these illnesses are way more intense than others, which is why we've ranked our favorites from "straight-up deadly" to "unpleasant but workable." They're all somewhat scientifically sound, and we dug into how.

Keep reading to see which illnesses made the list, and to learn a little more about your favorite stories.
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