novel by Jack L. Chalker
Set in a near-future America, this novel tells the tale of domestic bioterrorism on a grand scale. A bacterial plague is being released in small towns across the US, a plague that burns out your brain in creative and scary ways. Chalker weaves together threads including Sara Jane Olsen, a typically Chalkerian smart and ugly male hero, and, most amazingly for any Chalker fan, no body-switching. None. OK, spoiler time.
The plague was actually created and spread by the President and his cronies in order to hold power by fomenting a very real crisis. First thing to go, civil liberties. This was a very paranoid-fantasy inducing book to read, especially post 9/11.