FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 5, 2016
BOZEMAN, Mont. —With the World Health Organization (WHO) calling a disease linked to the Zika virus in Latin America a global health emergency, the Project WET Foundation is now offering a downloadable educational module that includes practical lessons to encourage healthy habits to prevent mosquito-borne illnesses like Zika. Free of charge to download, the module—which was originally designed for use in Brazil, one of the countries hardest hit by the Zika virus—includes an activity guide for educators to use in formal and informal educational settings, a children's activity booklet appropriate for ages 7 to 12 and a coloring book for younger children. "Healthy Water, Healthy Rio" materials are available in Portuguese and English and address key topics such as removing stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed.
"We feel that we have a responsibility to make these materials newly available for free download, giving educators and parents tools to help children and families prevent the spread of water- and mosquito-borne illnesses," said Project WET Foundation Senior Vice President John Etgen. "With hands-on lessons for educators to use with kids and engaging activities for children to do on their own or with a parent or teacher, the 'Healthy Water, Healthy Rio' series addresses serious topics in a way that everyone can understand."
"Avoiding Dengue Fever" is one of seven lessons in the Healthy Water, Healthy Rio Educator Guide. While designed to address dengue—another mosquito-borne illness that community leaders, educators and education ministry officials in Rio de Janeiro identified as a significant problem—the lesson's background material and whole-body activity zero in on healthy habits that can help prevent the spread of the Zika virus. These practical actions include:
- Removing stagnant water from around the house to prevent female mosquitoes from laying their eggs.
- Wearing clothing that covers your body during times of heavy rains or if infected.
- Using insect repellent.
- Properly disposing of garbage and solid waste in closed containers.
- Seeking medical attention immediately in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
The children's activity booklet and coloring book reinforce the importance of these measures in age-appropriate ways, offering everything from games and puzzles to simple black and white line drawings that allow young children to create their own colorful masterpieces. In addition to the educational materials focused on mosquito-borne illnesses such as Zika and dengue, the resources also contain other engaging lessons and activities on water conservation, watershed stewardship, hygiene and germ transmission.
To access the materials, click on the following links to visit the Project WET Store and download: