Off Topic Friday: Cuddly Virion, My Best Friend!

Death, especially mass death from an infectious disease, is something that should not be taken lightly. Unless you are a West African. Enter cuddly Ebola, the “educational” plush toy, designed to make one think of hugging the virus rather than the painful haemorrhagic death it can cause. Friends of the Ebola toy may include Cholera, Malaria, Polio, TB, and Sleeping Sickness – you know, all those ones which predominately affect poor countries.

Created by the company “Giantmicrobes”, whose mandate is to make money – I mean: to “produce educational vehicles based on accurate science to promote a greater understanding of the huge impact that tiny creatures have on our world.” You can’t argue with that! Especially when things like eyes are so complex metazoan, but who is going to complain about that? And that certainly doesn’t stop things like making puns: look at that cute little Mad Cow prion; and yes, it has cow spots.

Seriously: the term “microbe” in this case is so widely used it seems almost meaningless. From gametes, to a whole range of somatic cells, to antigen recognising proteins, to metazoans you can actually see so don’t technically qualify as “microbes”, and off course, to a whole host of disease causing organisms.

Back to Ebola. Apparently, the toy has been “selling like hot cakes” which makes one wonder about the sanity of said consumers. Scary viruses aside, rich world kids are far more likely to die from diabetes or heart disease than any exotic disease.

Which is why I present: ‘Noncommunicable Disease’ plush toy. Featuring:


Diabetes too many candy bars later (Type II) or my pancreas crapped out on me (Type I) or pregnancy sucks (gestational)

Heart Disease A cigar a day makes that coronary stay!

Obesity need a supplement to the Twinkie defence? You’ve got it!


Whatever your silent killer – we’ve got it!

Perhaps a little too close to home?


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