Google has announced new initiatives aimed at curbing the spread of the Zika virus in Brazil and Latin America with enhanced mapping data and more detailed online information about the mosquito-borne virus.
The company has revealed its plans in a blog post that was published today, announcing that it has partnered up with UNICEF to create an open source platform that can be used to map the spread of Zika and identify potential outbreaks. The tool will be able to gather data from a range of sources, that will range from parameters like travel and weather patterns. This will aid government and other organizations in the process of allocation of the resources in a more efficient manner.
Google also announced a $1 million grant for UNICEF, which will go toward mosquito eradication, vaccine development and awareness campaigns.
The campaign will be entirely web-based and its main is to provide internet users with more comprehensive information on the virus. The announcement also said that the search results on Zika are now available in 16 languages, including information on symptoms associated with Zika and public health alerts.
In addition to the search based efforts, the company has also partnered with YouTube creators and channels, including Sesame Street, to help spread information on Zika prevention through the video-sharing site. According to the stats, there has been a 3000 percent increase in the search interest around Zika since October 2015.
Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that the outbreak of this disease was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization last month and has spread quite fast across America. Experts claim that as many as 4 million people could be infected by the end of the year. Evidence pertained to the disease claim that the virus may be linked to birth defects and a rare neurological disorder, though, at present, scientists are still trying to determine how this virus works.