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'Adiós Zika!' Elmo Teaches Kids in Caribbean, Latin America about Zika

by Brian Latimer /
Elmo and Raya talk about ways for people to protect themselves to prevent the spread of the Zika Virus. Screen grab from YouTube video, "Plaza Sésamo: Si el Mosquito no te Pica, Adiós Zika! 2."PAHO TV YouTube

As the Zika Virus spreads through parts of Latin America and the Caribbean Islands, Sesame Street has joined forces with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to teach children how to avoid contracting the virus.

In two 30-second videos in Spanish, English and Portuguese, Elmo and Raya discuss better ways to ward off mosquitoes than waving fly swatters. Raya, who in the past has informed children about the importance of clean water, explains the need to cover and seal all water containers to keep mosquitoes out and from breeding. Stagnant water in a bucket or even a small bowl is one of the fastest ways for mosquitos carrying Zika or dengue to propagate.

“If the mosquito doesn’t bite, goodbye Zika!” say Elmo and Raya to kids.

"Cover skin with light-colored long sleeved clothing, trousers and hats," Raya also tells Elmo.

Sesame Street also created three printables to post around the house to remind children to close screen windows, cover standing water and to wear long sleeves whenever possible. The posters show how to avoid mosquito bites while also making sure mosquitoes do not breed around the home. One even describes and illustrates the symptoms.

All the videos and posters end with the same message: “If the mosquito doesn’t bite, goodbye Zika!”

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