Gesundheit, Elmo: US Teams With Sesame Street to Slow Swine Flu


[This from the wieners over at the Washington Post]

By Spencer S. Hsu
Three federal agencies are teaming up with the colorful muppets of Sesame Street to teach children and families how to prevent the spread of swine flu this fall, such as by washing their hands, sneezing into the bend in their arms and not touching their faces.

But don’t worry parents — the show’s garbage can-dwelling Oscar the Grouch won’t be preaching cleanliness. The spots are expected to feature the gentle Elmo and human character Gordon.

“We are thrilled to partner with Elmo, Gordon, and Sesame Workshop again to emphasize the steps kids and their parents can take to stay happy and healthy this school year,” Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

The partnership continues a series of public service announcements created in May by Sesame Workshop, the group that produces the children’s public television program, HHS, and the departments of Homeland Security and Education.

Children and young families are expected to be among groups most at risk of infection with the new H1N1 virus. DHS faced criticism last year when it tried to enlist the furry Sesame Street denizens to teach emergency preparedness to young kids, but a swine flu
campaign featuring the Muppets of Plaza Sésamo was popular in Mexico, where celebrities also donated time to the messages.

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