Elmo helps kids prevent Zika

|  March 30, 2016

Sesame Street Muppets Elmo and Raya are educating children about mosquito behavior to help reduce the spread of the Zika virus.

In two new videos, the Muppets share tips for preventing mosquito breeding and bites with families in Latin America and the Caribbean as part of a joint effort with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization.

Elmo and Raya’s first video message aims to stop mosquito-borne illnesses before they start. To eliminate mosquito breeding grounds, children are told not to let standing water accumulate, to empty and cover water bowls and basins, and to cover trash cans. In the second video, Elmo and Raya show children that wearing long sleeves and pants, using repellent, and keeping doors and windows screened can help protect them from bites.

“Our most important tool to combat Zika — and at the same time, dengue and chikungunya — is control of the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that transmit these diseases,” said Marcos Espinal, Ph.D., director of PAHO/WHO’s department of communicable diseases, in a news release. “Since these mosquitoes live in and around houses, this will take a concerted effort with intensified community engagement to reduce the number of mosquitoes in the Americas. We are also looking urgently at improving control methods, including insecticides and other technologies.”

The two 30-second videos, a part of Sesame Street’s nonprofit organization Sesame Workshop, are in Spanish, English and Portuguese.

“Sesame Street has always been committed to developing educational programs that make a direct impact in particularly vulnerable communities,” said Lewis Kofsky, vice president of Latin America, international media business, Sesame Workshop. “Just as we bring lessons about ABCs and 123s to keep children’s minds healthy, we also create messages that keep their bodies and emotional wellbeing healthy. We’re proud to work with PAHO to offer this new content help raise awareness about Zika.”

It is unclear if these videos will be distributed for U.S. audiences.

This article is tagged with , and posted in Crawling the Web, Mosquitoes, Stinging Insects

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