The Brazilian health ministry has announced the launch of a smartphone app that will track the spread of the Zika virus during the 2016 Olympic Games.

The Brazilian health ministry will launch the app in May in preparation of the influx of international visitors who will attend the Olympic Games opening ceremony in Rio de Janeiro on 5th August.

Brazil has been the hardest hit by the Zika outbreak; there have been 1.5 million registered cases of Zika since detecting the outbreak last year.

The WHO has since declared Zika an international health emergency over the apparent link between Zika and the recent increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS) patients and babies born with microcephaly in northeast Brazil. Brazil has confirmed 907 cases of microcephaly since October 2015 and is investigating nearly 4,300 suspected cases — a drastic increase from the 147 cases registered in 2014.

The anti-Zika app will provide information on preventing Zika and carry out a virtual diagnosis by asking users about their health. The app will also be able to direct users to their nearest pharmacy or hospital via GPS, if they should require medical attention.

According to the health ministry, the app will be available in English, French, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, as well as the country’s native Portuguese.

Brazilian Health Minister, Marcelo Castro, emphasised that “the risk of infection will be considerably reduced” during the Olympics, which will be held during the southern hemisphere winter, when there are fewer mosquitoes. However, he admitted that the situation still remains “very worrying.”

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