NEW YORK (AFP) - They might look tasteless, but satisfied customers dub them cute and adorable. Ebola-themed toys have proved such a hit that one United States-based company has sold out of them.
The website of Giant Microbes advertises three Ebola toys as a "uniquely contagious gag gift" that can help you "learn all about this fearsome frontpage disease". A "great teaching tool for students of all ages," the company boasts.
But eager customers are out of luck - the toys have sold out. "Out of stock". said the website on Friday, under a five-star rating based on 10 reviews for a stuffed toy called "Ebola", which retails at US$9.95 (S$12.70).
The "Ebola Gigantic doll" sells for US$29.95 and the "Ebola Petri Dish" for US$14.95.
The Connecticut-based company produces stuffed animals that look like microbes, which they call "humorous, educational and fun", selling more than 10 million all over the world.
Set up in 2002 with four products, it originally designed toys as teaching tools to help small children learn about the importance of hand-washing, but now markets over one hundred designs.
Among its offers are toys representing anthrax, black death, cancer, cholera, gonorrhea and diarrhoea.
Hysteria over Ebola has reached fever pitch the world over, despite repeated calls for calm as the virus has killed more than 4,500 people, most of them in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.