Elephants crossing the seas!
It is not an infectious disease, but it is a plague upon the world.
For it spawns villains. And not your garden variety villains, but epic villains, master villains of the most dangerous kind Evil Geniuses.
Pnathic sorcery has existed for ages, crudely used by magi who no idea the true forces they were fumbling with.
An article concerning the nature and role of druids in an RPG enviroment.
Plagues and other great diseases are important parts of history and some settings. They defy man and may even defy God in their swift and terrible punishment upon the body of society.
When you sleep, your soul briefly returns to the place where it was created/goes to when it dies, and seeks nourishment. Everybody's soul is created with a little link (or you could say a greater entity calls it back) to that place so that it can return easily, but upon death, the soul returns via that and annihilates the link as if returns.
Also, as an added thingy, you could say the entity supplying the link, or residue of the links themselves, (whichever) is the source of all arcane power.