The Zika virus has been reported to spread further into the Europe and Latin America. Health organizations across the globe have been actively working on doing something against the threat of it spreading. The spread is so alarming that other companies have also joined the fight against the said virus; the latest of which is the search engine giant, Google.
The tech giant has announced this Thursday that it will be donating $1 million USD or $1.37 million AUD grant to the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund in order to help the organization to raise awareness on the Zika virus, reduce mosquito populations and support other Zika-related initiatives on the ground, reports 9News.
ZDNet reported that Google is already known for providing US users with information about more than 900 health conditions and now has added more information about Zika. The information is said to be a summary of the virus, the symptoms and current public health alert s regarding it. Google is also working closely with YouTube creators in Latin America such as Sesame Street and Brazilian physician Drauzio Varella to help raise awareness on Zika.
Aside from that, the American multinational firm also said that it has assembled a team of volunteer engineers, designers and data scientists who will use weather, travel and disease data to map out and forecast the possible areas that the virus will spread into. The company is hoping that the open source platform that will be created out of this team will be able to help governments and health organizations to monitor and anticipate outbreaks in real time, which can be helpful in directing resources and responses accordingly, reports Ars Technica.
USA Today also reported that Google.org Director, Jacqueline Fuller, has wrote in a blog post that “Ultimately, the goal of this open source platform is to identify the risk of Zika transmission for different regions and help UNICEF, governments and NGO’s decide how and where to focus their time and resources.” The blog posted also mentions that “the set of tools is being prototyped for the Zika response, but will also be applicable to future emergencies.”
The Zika Virus, which is a mosquito borne disease according to the World Health Organization, has been first identified in Uganda and outbreaks of the disease was then recorded in Africa, Americas, Asia and the Pacific. Scientists have not been able to find any cure or vaccine that will help combat the disease. Recently, health officials have been alarmed to discover the spread of the disease in America and the rise of babies in Brazil having microcephaly, which apparently is connected to the disease.
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