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Brazilian app helps governments tackle Zika virus

An app created by Brazilian startup Colab.re is helping the country to fight the outbreak of the Zika virus.

As health officials began to suspect there might be a link between Zika in pregnant women and the birth of children with severe disabilities, MDIF client Colab.re launched a dedicated app allowing residents to report and authorities to track outbreaks of Zika, dengue and chikungunya, all viral infections carried by mosquitos.

It works by allowing citizens to report symptoms and check which infection they are likely to have contracted. By comparing mosquito breeding sites with symptoms, governments have a better view and understanding of the spread of the epidemic.

The app also lets people report sites that may be harbouring the disease or run the risk of spreading the virus.

The app works in the same way as Colab-re’s existing app, which allows people living in cities to report everyday issues that need to be addressed, suggest urban improvements and rate public services. Both apps geolocate citizens’ reports and direct them to the relevant authorities.

Dozens of municipalities across the country, including Sao Paulo, are using the app to combat Zika. The existing app has also been updated to include a category for dengue fever. In Sao Paulo, reports under the dengue fever category account for 1-2% of total reports.

With more than 100,000 users, Colab.re’s main app – which also enables governments to actively consult with residents – was named World’s Best Urban App by the New Cities Foundation.

Read a report by US News & World Report on how the app is mobilising communities to help fight the Zika virus.

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