(Reuters) - It may be the only time you will find these words in the same sentence: “Ebola” and “Add to Wishlist.”
Giantmicrobes Inc., which makes a line of plush toys based on viruses and other microscopic organisms, has sold out its entire Ebola stock, including the small Ebola doll for $9.95, a Gigantic Ebola doll for $29.95 and an Ebola Petri Dish toy for $14.95, according to the company’s website.
“Since its discovery in 1976, Ebola has become the T. Rex of microbes,” says the Stamford, Connecticut-based maker of the “uniquely contagious toy” on its website, which promotes them as gag gifts that also have educational value.
With the latest Ebola outbreak, which already killed more than 4,500 people, mostly in West Africa, customers have snapped up the toy, which looks like half a pretzel.
“You do not want to get Ebola,” warns the website. “A short incubation period of 2 to 21 days presages symptoms which include fever, aches, sore throat, and weakness, followed by diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting, and both internal and external bleeding. And then, for between 50-90 percent of victims, death.”
Giantmicrobes lists the World Health Organization as one of its largest customers, along with pharmaceutical companies and the American Red Cross.
Anyone disappointed by the current shortage of the Ebola toys can click on “Add to Wishlist” and wait for more stock to arrive. Or make a different selection from the company’s array of other plush toys, including Anthrax, Botulism, Cholera and Dengue Fever.
It was not clear how many of the toys have been sold and the company could not be reached for comment.
Reporting by Barbara Goldberg in New York; Editing by Sandra Maler