Google said on Thursday, March 3, 2016 that its engineers were working with UNICEF to analyse data in an effort to map and anticipate the spread of the Zika virus.
It said in a statement in New York that it was providing a 1 million dollar grant to UNICEF Emergency Fund to help its volunteers on the ground, mostly in Latin America.
Google said that it was also updating its products to make information on Zika more available.
The outbreak of Zika in Brazil, first detected last year, had been linked to 4,863 confirmed and suspected cases of microcephaly, a condition defined by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.
Google said a volunteer team of its engineers, designers, and data scientists was helping UNICEF build a platform to process data from different sources, including weather and travel patterns in order to visualise potential outbreaks.
The company said that the goal of the open source platform was to identify the risk of Zika transmission for different regions and help UNICEF, governments and NGOs decide how and where to focus their time and resources.
Chris Fabian, UNICEF Innovation Co-Lead, said the open source platform could be expanded for global use and employed in future disease outbreaks.
Caryl Stern President and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF, said the Google grant would help UNICEF to reach 200 million people in the region, who are either affected by or vulnerable to Zika with information on how they can protect themselves.