GEORGE TOWN (Reuters) - Two people have contracted the Zika virus locally in the Cayman Islands, the health department said on Tuesday, bringing the total number infected by the virus in the Caribbean territory to eight.
A woman living in Cayman’s capital George Town first reported her symptoms in July, and a sample sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency for testing came back positive, the department said in a statement.
She is not believed to have traveled to any countries in which Zika is present.
Late on Monday, the health department announced the first known case of Zika contracted on the islands, by a man who had also not traveled to affected countries. Six other people have contracted the virus overseas and returned home carrying the infection.
Health authorities say that when contracted by pregnant women, Zika can cause the birth defect microcephaly and other severe brain abnormalities in babies.
The ongoing Zika outbreak was first detected last year in Brazil, where it has been linked to more than 1,700 cases of the birth defect microcephaly. Since that time the virus has spread rapidly through the Americas.
In July, Florida confirmed that the mostly mosquito borne virus had been transmitted locally on the U.S. mainland for the first time.
Reporting by Peter Polack in George Town; Editing by John Stonestreet and Tom Brown