I have always had an odd fascination with horrific “bugs”, and spent months trying to win myself one of the GIANTmicrobes before finally contacting them to see if they’d let me do a review. Seriously, what could be more awesome for the wanna-be epidemiologist than her very own cute, cuddly stuff bacteria or virus? When I was a nursing student, MRSA was a huge deal. For those who haven’t heard (and MRSA was done to death in the news, so I don’t think there is anyone left that hasn’t heard of it) MRSA stands for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, and t tends to run rampant in hospitals, although less so now that the medical industry has so many safeguards in place. When I was a student, I had several patients that were infected with MRSA, which meant wearing a robe, gloves, and mask whenever I entered their room. I came to fear dealing with all of that far more than I feared the bug itself.

Obviously, since I’m talking about MRSA, it means GIANTmicrobes sent me my very own cuddly version of the Superbug, who comes complete with his own cape. Or her own cape, since Jake decided it’s a girl for some reason. While the plan was for me to keep my GIANTmicrobe all to myself and place it in a prominent, decorative spot on my desk, where it could bring me daily joy and amusement, I should have known that wasn’t going to happen. Jake asked me what I had behind my back when I came in from getting the mail, and he caught me taking the picture, so I was done for. I told him “it’s MRSA, a deadly bacteria!” He replied “ooh, she’s cute! Can I have her?” I tried to say no, but he flashed his grin with his one missing tooth, and as usually I was done for. So now MRSA will most likely be sleeping with us every night, along with the ten thousand other stuffed animals in my bed (and the child who refuses to sleep in his own bed, plus a 90 pound dog). Maybe when he’s not looking, I can sneak her out and give her the proper place she deserves.

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The whole idea of GIANTmicrobes just fascinates me. It’s pure genius. Anyone can make a cool stuffed bear, but I think it takes a unique mind to think “hey, let’s make stuffed versions of the Ebola, Black Death, and Syphilis!” Aside from plush plagues, they also sell a ton of other microbe-related merchandise on their site, including ties, soap dispensers (nothing says “remember to wash your hands” like a visual of one of the millions of nasty germs you can pick up if you don’t), t-shirts, and hats. I also love their Facebook page because they provide product updates and other news related to microbes. You can also follow them on Twitter for updates.