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Public Access to Zika Data in order to Raise Awareness

Raising public awareness helps prevent Zika spread further.

Photo of weiwei Zhang
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  • What is Zika Virus?
  • Means of Transmission of Zika Virus?
  • What are the symptoms and consequences of people who get infected by Zika Virus?
  • What are the obstacles in fighting Zika in US?

What is Zika Virus?

Zika virus is a virus first found in Uganda in 1947. Starting in 2015, it is spreading across the world and is identified by the World Health Organization as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. 

What are Means of Transmission of Zika Virus?

There are three ways a person might get infected by zika virus:

  1. A bite from mosquito, mostly aedes albopictus;
  2. Through birth;
  3. Through sextual intercorse.

What are the symptoms and consequences of people who get infected?

People get symptoms such as fever, red eyes and pain joints, and most people won't even notice if he or she get zika. However, it has a severe consequence if a pregnant women get infected by Zika because the baby will have a very high chance to develop microcephaly.

What are the obstacles in fighting Zika?

In order to fight Zika, we need to know more about it. Research scientist is doing hard to learn more about Zika and hopefully developing vaccines and other methods(e.g. mosquito army ) to combat Zika. These measures need time and money.

With summer coming and tourist season coming, mosquitos will become more and the speed of spreading zika virus will likely to get higher with travelling people. The biggest obstacle would be the difficulty to track the vectors as most people might not know if they get Zika.


For the short term, I think the best and first thing we could do is to raise public awareness of ZIKA, preventing more people getting infected.(Study estimated that there will be 4 million people getting Zika in the coming summer ).

I've searched for Zika infectious data and the results are all words and numbers which is not so easy to read(See the links at the end of the article). And I think a better data visualization will help people get the idea and it would be even better if people could report symptoms through different technology.

Therefore, I did an Zika infected cases visualization in US based on data from CDC using google's API,  I hope this could be an inspiration for better ways to displaying data and getting public awareness.


Basic informations about Zika

Zika Data in update:

Zika Data Visualization:

Crowd Sourcing Data Example


Join the conversation:

Photo of Daria González

Hey weiwei Zhang - this is a great idea! Have you heard of Humanitarian OpenStreetMap Team ('HOT' - The effort works in collaboration with the Missing Maps Project (also a great initiative -, which identifies vulnerable places in the developing world using the OSM technology.  

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