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Mark Zuckerberg Uses Facebook to Spread Awareness About the Zika Virus Outbreak

Like much of the rest of the world, Facebook is the leading social media platform in Brazil. At the current growth rate there will be over 80 million Facebook users in Brazil by the end of 2016, which could potentially push them ahead of India, but nowhere near the whopping 990 million residing in the USA.

Still though, the platform is immensely popular there, and has become a principle source of communication, which makes it invaluable for raising awareness. We are currently in the midst of a global health emergency, stemming from the outbreak of the Zika virus in South America. It has the strongest foothold in Brazil, where over 4000 cases have been reported since October.

Spread by mosquito bites, Zika infections can sometimes be mild and almost or entirely devoid of symptoms, although in some cases it has been known to lead to Guillain-Barre syndrome, which causes the immune system to attack parts of the nervous system, in turn causing pain, weakness, temporary inability to walk and in the worst cases, respiratory dysfunction, severe blood pressure and heart rate abnormalities.

Such an outcome is rare though, the real danger posed by Zika is to unborn babies. If a pregnant woman contracts the infection, it can lead the fetus to develop brain disorders, most notably microcephaly, which causes them to be born with an underdeveloped brain. The World Health Organisation are doing all they can to control the spread of the illness, protecting vulnerable South American residents and trying to control the mosquitoes which are carrying the virus.

As a community, we can help fight the Zika virus by raising awareness. Facebook has partnered with the non-profit...
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Tuesday, 2 February 2016

In cases like this though, awareness is also vitally important, and that's where Facebook come in. Mark Zuckerberg has spearheaded a partnership between his company and Brazilian non-profit Abrasco Divulga to start a continent-wide campaign which is raising awareness about avoidance, treatment and containment of the virus. The first video, which has been shared over 9,000 times, provides a simple set of instructions for preventing mosquito bites.

The campaign is being fronted by the #SaiZika (#GoAwayZika) hashtag, and more videos and posts are likely to emerge in the coming weeks. The plan is for the campaign to roll out to the rest of South America, as more and more cases are being reported in Columbia, Bolivia and Paraguay, but it's also moving further north into El Salvador, Panama and even Mexico. Hopefully Facebook's involvement will help the WHO to address this outbreak before it becomes too overwhelming, as was the case with the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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Mark Zuckerberg Uses Facebook to Spread Awareness About the Zika Virus Outbreak Reviewed by Unknown on Thursday, February 04, 2016 Rating: 5

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