Google is siding with the United Nations Children's Emergency Fund to help map the Zika virus spread to anticipate and prevent future outbreaks.

The company donated $1 million to UNICEF toward this endeavor, and some of its engineers are volunteering to work with the agency to crunch necessary data and map the virus outbreak.

The Zika virus is highly dangerous and is primarily transmitted by a type of mosquito, and its spread has already reached alarming dimensions. Nearly 5,000 cases of microcephaly in Brazil are believed to be linked to the Zika virus, and it has also spread to other countries in Latin America.

Microcephaly is a disorder that refers to babies born with abnormally small heads, which can cause potential physical disabilities and developmental problems. Last month, the World Health Organization declared the Zika virus outbreak a public health emergency, promising to implement a strategic plan to combat the devastating spread.

As Google points out in a new company blog post, most people with the Zika virus don't show any symptoms, which makes it particularly difficult to map and counter.

"[U]nlike many other global pandemics, the spread of Zika has been harder to identify, map and contain," says Google.

"As a company whose mission is helping people find information, with a lot of experience in analyzing large sets of data, we're in a good position to help - at scale and at speed," adds the company.

In addition to having engineers working with UNICEF to analyze data for mapping the virus, Google also updated its products to make it easier for people to access information about the Zika virus.

The company basically aims to leverage its open source platform expertise to identify and anticipate the risk of Zika outbreaks for different regions. This should help governments, UNICEF and NGOs better organize their efforts and decide where to focus their resources and time first.

While Google is prototyping a new set of tools for countering the Zika virus, the effort will benefit future emergencies as well.

When it comes to making Zika virus information more accessible, Google already made notable efforts. The company updated its Search tool for people in the U.S. to offer comprehensive information for more than 900 health conditions. Other efforts include Zika information in 16 languages, facilitating global awareness by presenting an overview of the condition, symptoms, Public Health Alerts and more.

To further raise awareness, Google also teamed up with popular YouTube creators in Latin America, as well as Brazilian physician Drauzio Varella, to offer more information through their channels.

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