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The crazy Ebola economy: Survival kits, plush toys and more

Nicole Goodkind
Nicole Goodkind

Ebola is on U.S. soil and although the CDC, NIH and President Obama have all assured the American public that it’s well contained there’s a panic spreading across the land… call it Germaphobia.

Ebola is, of course, a highly-contagious and potentially deadly disease… but it wouldn’t be America if there weren’t companies ready to jump in and profit off of this widespread fear.

First, and probably the most otable, are the HAZMAT suits. Dupont Co. has said it’s tripling the production of its protective gear.

Lakeland Industries (LAKE), a small company based in Ronkonkoma, New York that specializes in hazardous materials-clothing saw its stock shoot up 248% between October 2nd and 13th. Alpha pro tech (APT), which makes protective facemasks also saw its stock grow by 245% this year.

On Amazon, the search “Hazmat suits Ebola” returned 792 results, with many of the suits already sold out. You can also buy an Ebola survival kit on Amazon complete with a P100 respirator for the low, low price of $89.95.

And while some people aren’t ready to go full-out body suit, they’re still taking precautions. Market research firm IRI reports that hand-sanitizer sales in the U.S. have increased by 9.4% in the past four weeks and disinfectant sales were up 12.9%. Clorox has seen a 28% sales boost over the past month and Lysol has added information about Ebola to its website, writing that “based on their ability to kill similar as well as harder-to-kill viruses, [LYSOL] products are likely to be effective against the Ebola virus.”

If you want to embrace the Virus, there’s also this giant Ebola plush toy on sale by a website called Giant Microbes for $9.95. The toy is currently sold out worldwide. And while it might seem a bit uncouth, the website assures us that the plush comes with lots of useful information about the disease.

Then, of course, there's Ebola.com, the website for sale for $150,000.

Most recently, rapper Cam'Ron is selling "Ebola masks" which are just surgical masks with his picture on them for $19.99 each.

Now let’s make one thing clear: This is not intended to make light of Ebola, just to point out that unbridled fear can sometimes lead to unbridled purchases.

What do you think? Have we descended into Germaphobe madness? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook or in the comment section below.