The Zika virus outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO) in February. Even though the mosquito-borne virus doesn’t cause symptoms in the majority of cases, it has been linked to an increase in a fatal birth defect known as microcephaly.
Now, Google is partnering with UNICEF, providing funds, tools and manpower to help fight the disease.
In a blog post Thursday, the company announces it is providing UNICEF with a $1 million grant to help their efforts concerning the outbreak. Google also has its own engineers helping UNICEF “analyze data to determine how to map and anticipate the virus.” The company is providing an additional $500,000 to to UNICEF and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to support the work of its own employees on the ground.
UNICEF will use the funds to raise awareness, reduce mosquito populations, support developments of vaccines, and help prevent the transmission of the virus. The organization expects to reach 200 million affected or vulnerable people throughout Latin America.
Google is also helping to raise awareness and knowledge of the Zika virus directly, by including extensive information about the virus globally, in 16 languages. Searching for “zika virus” on Google will now bring you an overview of the virus, symptom information and Public Health Alerts.
In the post, Google claims the Zika outbreak has seen more than a 3,000% increase in global search interest since November. You can see a graphical representation of what that looks like, below.