Google is helping UNICEF to map Zika virus spread

Google Zika virus

Google, on Thursday, said in a statement that some of its engineers are working with United Nation’s child agency UNICEF to help them track the spread of the dangerous Zika virus. The virus has caused many deaths in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico and the Carribean. It was first detected in Brazil.

Many countries have issued travel warnings, and the outbreak is expected to impact the tourism industry significantly.

Google said it was also giving a $1 million aid to the UNICEF to assist it in bringing up the consciousness about Zika virus. It stated that it was helping UNICEF to create an open source platform that will be able to map the spread of the Zika virus.

The company is writing the algorithms using several kinds of data that it collects from its users by its smartphone apps. The platform will help track the virus by using location services, weather, and other information. An affected person’s location history will be used to find out where the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes exist.

The mission of this platform is to have governments and NGOs apply Google.org’s technology to judge where their resources would be better spent.

UNICEF said that it had introduced similar platforms at the time of Dengue fever, in Pakistan, and Ebola virus, in Sierra Leon.

Google said it was also working to update its products and services such as YouTube to assemble information on Zika.

The company also unveiled a movement for workers’ contribution that could transfer up to $500,000 more to UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to battle with the Zika virus.

The Mountain View-based search engine sees an extremely increasing worldwide search interest for Zika. The company said the global search interest in Zika rose by 3000 percent.

Zika is a dangerous type of virus that shows no mild symptoms, just like Dengue fever, but eventually kills the cells in the brain.

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