The Zika virus, now active in 33 countries and territories of the Americas, has a new combatant: the Muppets of Sesame Street.
Specifically, Elmo and Raya teamed up with the humans behind Sesame Street's nonprofit education organization, Sesame Workshop, for a few public service announcements to share valuable information about how to stop the virus from spreading.
Families and children in Latin America will see the PSAs, the combined effort of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Regional Office for the Americas of the World Health Organization, and Sesame Workshop.
The two 30-second spots have been produced in Spanish, English and Portuguese.
"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 Dr. Marcos Espinal, director of PAHO/WHO's Department of Communicable Diseases, in a statement.
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Lewis Kofsky, Vice President of Latin America, International Media Business, Sesame Workshop, added: "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 well-being healthy. We're proud to work with PAHO to offer this new content help raise awareness about Zika."
In English, the video translates to:
Raya: Ready, Elmo?
Elmo: Elmo ready, Raya!
Raya: Today’s mission: Do not let the mosquito grow anywhere. Lesson #1: Do not leave objects sitting out that can collect water, such as buckets, bottles, cups, and cover water tanks properly.
Elmo: Alright, do not let water accumulate.
Raya: Lesson #2: Do not let garbage accumulate and keep the trash covered.
Elmo: Lesson accomplished!
Raya and Elmo: Remember, if the mosquito doesn't bite, "Goodbye, Zika!"
And the second video translates to:
Elmo: Sorry, Elmo wants to protect himself from mosquitoes.
Raya: There are better ways to protect yourself from mosquitoes that cause Zika.
Elmo: Like what?
Raya: Use repellent, pants, and long sleeved, light, soft shirts.
Elmo: Elmo will protect himself!
Raya: We should install screens on windows and doors so mosquitoes don’t enter.
Additional reporting by Phil Zepeda and Daniela Franco.