Sesame Street Joins Campaign Against Zika Virus
Elmo and the gang help spread the word about the mosquito-borne disease
Two members of "Sesame Street," Elmo and his Muppet friend Raya, have joined the fight against the Zika virus.
The children's TV show released several videos to Central and South America and the Caribbean in an effort to educate children and families about the mosquito-borne virus. Zika has been linked to a serious birth defect known as microcephaly and may increase the risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause symptoms including weakness and temporary paralysis.
"Sesame Street" is working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the regional office of the World Health Organization (WHO), on the campaign.
"We are pleased to collaborate again with Sesame Street in this important outreach to children families, and the general public in the Americas as part of our campaign to educate the public on preventing the spread of Zika," said Marcos Espinal, MD, director of PAHO/WHO's Department of Communicable Diseases.
The first clip features Elmo and Raya teaching children to not let standing water accumulate, to empty and cover water bowls and cover trash containers. On the second clip, they give tips on how to avoid mosquito bites, such as using mosquito nets and insect repellent, wearing long sleeves and keeping doors and windows screened.
In the end, the two puppets encourage kids to share this information with their friends. "If the mosquito doesn't bite, goodbye Zika!" say the Muppets in the video.
The clips will run on Latin American and Caribbean television stations. An English version is coming soon. You can view the Spanish version here.
The Zika virus, transmitted through the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito, was declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization in February. Zika also can be transmitted through sex with an infected person.
Pregnant women should avoid traveling to countries under the CDC travel alert.
Currently, no vaccine for Zika is available.