A company specializing in selling plush toy models of microorganisms tells Breitbart News interest in their Ebola products– both stuffed animal Ebola viruses and the putty “petri dish” variety toy– have been selling out, with high interest coming from both individual customers and public schools.
GIANTmicrobes describes their craft on their webpage as the production of accurate representation of bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms in plush toy form. “We design plush toys that look like tiny microbes–only a million times actual size!” Calling the products “humorous, educational, and fun,” the company sells over 150 model dolls of everything from benign amoebas to a scientifically accurate cancer cell to HIV. Most are about one million times the size of the real thing.
The company has been highlighting its Ebola products on their Twitter account, as well as tweeting news updates on the outbreak and even retweeting teachers highlighting the use of the product in the classroom:
— GIANTmicrobes, Inc. (@GIANTmicrobes) August 26, 2014
— GIANTmicrobes, Inc. (@GIANTmicrobes) August 8, 2014
— Ms OB’s Classroom (@Solarium1101) September 16, 2014
GIANTmicrobes has sold an Ebola virus model since “around the late 2000s,” according to company sales representative Nicole Centonze. The earliest mention of their Ebola product Breitbart News was able to find was in 2009, years before the current Ebola outbreak in west Africa began. Centonze tells Breitbart News that, while the product is a “standard item,” there has been significantly more interest in the product since it became news.
“Since there has been more info about the whole epidemic, we have noticed a spike in sales and people inquiring in sales,” she noted. “We’ve had to back order it.” “We have a few different styles of it, and they are all selling out,” she added, detailing the different products– original, giant size, a putty variety, and the “petri dish,” which comes with three smaller models. All, she said, are “a hot commodity.”
While many of the orders are individual, Centonze added that many are also wholesale orders, which are depleting the supply. Public schools, in particular, have been eager to place orders wholesale for use in classrooms where children overhearing the news of the virus arriving on U.S. soil may ask teachers questions.
Centonze also tells Breitbart News that, to her knowledge, no one has complained that selling an Ebola product during an outbreak may be impertinent. On the contrary, she says, “people are like ‘wow, it’s really great you do that– that’s very educational.'”
Sales for the company may continue to surge as the west African outbreak of the virus appears to have no end in sight. In addition to the more than 3,000 deaths and 7,000 recorded cases of Ebola the World Health Organization has announced, this week saw the first expansion of Ebola out of Africa, as a nurse assistant in Spain received the virus from a patient flown in from Africa for treatment.