Healthy Living

Elmo Is Teaching Kids About Zika Virus And Mosquito Bites

Sunny day, keeping the bugs away.

Sesame Street is a first point of entry for current events for many children. It makes sense, then, that Elmo, the lovable red Muppet, will be teaching his viewers in Latin America and the Caribbean about avoiding mosquito bites and preventing the spread of Zika virus.

Sesame Street teamed up with the Pan American Health Organization to reach families and educate them about the mosquito-borne disease, which has been linked to serious birth defects. Elmo will appear in two 30-second PSAs that will be aired in Latin America and the Caribbean in Spanish, Portuguese and English. There are currently no plans to show them in the U.S., USA Today reported.

In one of the videos, Elmo and Raya, a turquoise Muppet who was created in 2014 to teach kids about hygiene and sanitation, tell their viewers how to stop mosquito breeding. Their tips include draining and covering water containers and avoiding the accumulation of stagnant water.

In the second PSA, Elmo and Raya discuss how to avoid mosquito bites. They say wearing long sleeve shirts and pants and using insect repellent are two smart steps.

Sesame Street has been committed to educating communities -- particularly vulnerable ones -- since its very beginnings in 1969. Beyond lessons on the alphabet and counting, the organization has prioritized broadcasting information to help kids stay healthy and safe.

In the Nigerian adaptation of the show, a cab-driving Muppet named Zobi was introduced to educate viewers about malaria in 2011. Similarly to Elmo and Raya, Zobi taught his audience about mosquito safety.

The White House even partnered with the Muppets to promote fresh fruit and vegetable consumption to kids in the U.S. The agreement allowed several produce growers and suppliers to utilize the influence of Sesame Street's brand without a licensing fee. Some of the crew even got to hang out with FLOTUS herself.

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