Two cases of Zika confirmed in Cayman

| 05/07/2016 | 65 Comments
Cayman News Service

Zika is suspected of causing microcephaly, a birth defect marked by an abnormally small head

(CNS): Although Cayman managed to remain Zika free for a considerable time as the virus raged across the region, public health officials confirmed Tuesday the first two Cayman Islands cases of the virus, imported by returning residents who contracted the virus overseas. Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr Samuel Williams-Rodriguez said the patients are both female residents.

One travelled to a country where there is an outbreak of Zika last month and reported onset of symptoms to the HSA on 25 June. The second recently completed high school in a country where there is a Zika outbreak. After she returned home on 19 June she also sought medical treatment on 25 June after two days of symptoms.

Dr Williams-Rodriguez said there is still no evidence of local transmission of Zika in the Cayman Islands. For Aedes aegypti mosquitoes to transmit Zika they must bite infected persons, otherwise they can’t become infectious and transmit the disease.

Zika is linked to microcephaly, a condition where the size of an infant’s head is smaller than normal because of slowed or incomplete brain development.

“While the Zika virus is mainly transmitted through Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, other modes of transmission, in particular sexual transmission, have been documented,” he said. “We cannot over-emphasise that all men returning from where local transmission of Zika virus is known to occur, should adopt safer sexual practices or consider abstinence for at least four weeks after return. Continue to be alert, and practice preventative measures, to ensure minimal to non-risk of being bitten by the carrier mosquito, Aedes aegypti.

“We advise, any person who develops Zika virus symptoms, especially fever, rash conjunctivitis or pink-eye, within two weeks of having returned from countries with Zika virus cases to consult their physician and inform of their travel history,” added Dr Williams-Rodriguez. “We continue to caution everyone, especially women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant, to be extra careful during their travels overseas where there is an outbreak.”

Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) Director Dr Bill Petrie said his team was monitoring the situation closely and reminded the public to help reduce the Aedes aegypti population by clearing yards of containers that hold water, as these are favourite breeding sites of the mosquito.

For more advice on mosquito control, contact MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2223 on Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman, or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.  

For further information on Zika, please contact the Public Health Department at 244-2648 or 244-2632.

Or visit the World Health Organization website.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Tags: , , , ,

Category: Local News

Comments (65)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Anonymous says:

    I don’t even believe in Zika. I am laughing my ass off at you people who believe absolutely everything you see and hear on the mainstream media. Zika is a lie and when you are lining up for the useless vaccine, remember that you were warned.

    • Anonymous says:

      Have you considered the possibility that the reason you are laughing and dont believe in Zika is that you are probably insane?

  2. Who benefits if Oxitec fail? says:

    After reading the comments here it is obvious that a certain Anti-GM group is purposely spreading misinformation. What I do not understand is why this is being done; when you realize you are having to lie to justify your claims surely you must at the same time realize you are wrong. I cannot therefore understand the motivation; what do people have to gain by resorting to lies? I am concerned there are ulterior motives at play here. The only people I can see benefiting by spreading false information about the Oxitec release are the major chemical companies that provide the insecticides that have been used for decades to control mosquitoes. If Oxitec technology works these companies will lose billions of $. Is it possible these lies and misinformation are being propagated by people being paid by the big chemical companies? Are there any other explanations that I am missing? All idas welcome as I really am confused as to what people have to benefit from resorting to lies to justify their cause.

    • Please be assured that I have nothing to gain from this except the preservation of my life and my rights.

      I have the right to be informed and then to determine if I want to participate in this research. That right is being ripped away from me.

      You may be right about the pesticide companies having an investment – it is speculated that Monsanto’s pesticides’ poisonings of the environment including and especially Brazil’s waters might be the real reason for the high rate of microcephaly. This then releases Zika from being a major source of micro, but remains so, as it is convenient and therefore the mosquito becomes the scapegoat and Monsanto goes free from its legal responsibilities.

      Maybe you’re right; maybe it’s the pesticide companies.

      But then, that’s exactly what Oxitec might want. An outbreak of Zika-presumed microcephaly that’s being covered up by the chemical companies so that the mosquito gets the blame and justifies Oxitec having to release the GMMs.

  3. Anonymous says:

    What happened to Ebola tents? $3M was spent on Ebola preparations.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Given the threat of Zika to Cayman and the Caribbean as a whole I am confused as to why people are opposed to the release of sterile male mosquitoes. If it has previously reduced the mosquito numbers in Cayman by 96% why are people saying it will result in more biting? I understand the mosquito has been genetically modified but I do not understand why this is a major concern. What exactly is the basis of the fear of the GM mosquitoes? Have humans not been genetically modifying animals for millennia; look at the modifications that have been made to dogs and livestock by selective breeding?

    • They lost me at sterile males that breed says:

      I personally oppose this process because not only does Oxitec plan on releasing males, but they also plan on releasing 0.07% of 22 million biting predator females that are an absolute vector of transmitting these diseases.

      This alone INCREASES the chances of these diseases spreading, in which the Director of Tourism provided testimony in Parliament last month that tourists were cancelling their vacations to the Cayman Islands because of the fear of Zika and these mosquitoes.

      Tourism and destination wedding summer bookings DECREASING in our high season (January-March, 2016) at a time where significant resources and interdepartmental efforts are spent attracting ultra high-net worth individuals (net worth over US$30 million) to the Cayman Islands. Nobody is risking their families and employees just to be an experiment.

      I am also very concerned that, PRIOR TO Oxitec releasing millions of biting female Aedes aegypti in Brazil, there were only 165 reported cases.

      AFTER Oxitec released these “sterile males” that breed, including millions of biting predator females, an unprecedented explosion of Zika in the same northeast region of Oxitec’s mosquito farm occurred.

      Sourced on the top of Page 5 on the Department of Environment’s website:

      • Anonymous says:

        You people don’t seem to know why you oppose it except govt. didn’t get your permission. Glad to know you think you all are ALL so important! Time West Bayers … could use some zika to put sense in the district. Cha!

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t forget plants we have been genetically modifying for millennia also, such as maize, rice and grain>

      Even domestication derived from genetic modification through breeding

  5. Anonymous says:

    so now we can take our heads out of the sand??????

  6. Anonymous says:

    Dear Public Health Officials – It would be helpful for the Cayman public to know where they contracted it from. Please & thank you.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The Zika Virus Is Harmless – Who Then Benefits From This Media Panic? Zika: Science Versus Media Hype. ZIKA CRAZE: No Real Evidence That Zika Virus Causes Microcephaly

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for that information. How do you know this? Do you work for the CDC or WHO or other organization that might know this or are you just putting forward your own baseless opinion as a fact?

    • Anonymous says:

      you forget to mention the saucer people and the reverse vampires!

    • Anonymous says:

      This man believes climate change is a fiction, guns reduce guns crime and that the collapse of sterling has nothing to do with Brexit. He receives all his information from the antenna attached to his tinfoil hat.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your liberal, uneducated tinfoil hat is glowing quite brightly now.
        Everyone in Prospect can see it.
        How much more deceived can you be?

    • Anonymous says:

      Fixing stupid is not in my job description nor is fixing your grammar or writing style, however I would love a crack at you 08.09…

      • Anonymous says:

        Well 1:21, you must be a loony left. You resort to threats of violence with no facts to back up your position, you attack the poster and you probably believe everything you see on CNN.
        Please continue with the medication.
        I don’t know why the Health Services allow laptops into the padded cells?
        The poster was merely stating his/her opinion.
        Just because some government entity wants to spread a little fear, it doesn’t mean that we should all get bent out of shape.
        Are you afraid of Zika? That is unfortunate. “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
        Grow up and grow a pair!

        • Anonymous says:

          what threats of violence 3.11? Did your imaginary friend read 1.21’s comments to you? if so he was winding you up just a little…

    • Anonymous says:

      WOW … you cannot really be that ignorant? You must be part of the anti-GM movement because they demonstrate the epitome of ignorance. Throwing big words out there and confusing people! Helsinki Accord? LOL … damn nuts!

    • Anonymous says:

      One of better simple trolls I’ve seen, yet no one has even flagged him as a troll. I don’t think the readers understand what trolling is.

    • Anonymous says:

      8:09 am 6/7 — it is not true that there “is no real evidence” that Zika causes microcephaly. The WHO had confirmed that cause of microcephaly months ago. Unfortunately, out of date information does not get removed from the web and that can mislead people. Do a little more research, please.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What?? You mean to say that there ARE gangs in Cayman.

  9. Unison says:

    Finally! Now we can release the Oxitec genetically modified mosquitoes! :/ gulp

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS: in the photo accompanying this story:1. The caption is out of date — the Zika virus is now confirmed — and not “suspected”, as your caption reads — as causing microcephaly. 2. Something about using this photo of this poor mother and her defenseless little baby bothers me. Neither is a public figure and while the mother may have consented to her photo being used the first time, I doubt very much that this photo could now be classed as photo stock for common use as an illustration by all and sundry.

    • Anonymous says:

      Releasing them now will increase the prospects of individuals being bitten by an Aedis Aegypti mosquito. I understand that around 15% of the mosquitoes to be released will be biting females. As there are now known to be carriers of the virus here, the last thing we should do is substantially increase the number of mosquitoes capable of causing person to person transmission.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, less than 0.1%. Or, to quote MRCU “We sort the males from the females as pupae and have a greater than 99.9% sorting efficiency.” (

        • 0.03% of 22 million mozzies released are biting, disease spreading females says:

          No, as per the Oxitec scientist final admission, they will be releasing on average 0.03 percent, which is an ADDITIONAL 660,000 female mozzies to spread this Zika disease in the Cayman Islands.

          Source it at 51 minutes into the video on For the Record, June 20, 2016.

          • Oxitec needs to stop lying says:

            No, when MRCU made their application to the National Conservation Commission for permission to land the UK mosquito eggs into the Cayman Islands, the information that Dr. Petrie submitted was that the sorting will result in 0.07% of the biting, disease spreading females being released into the Cayman Islands.

            So, the MRCU will be releasing 1,540,000 BITING FEMALES, my friend.

            Sourced on the top of Page 5 on the Department of Environment’s website:

          • Anonymous says:

            Hope your knowledge of science is better than your knowledge of mathematics. How do you get 0.03% of 22,000,000 to be 660,000? I am glad you appreciate Zika is going to be spread by the local Aedes aegypti population. Lets all get behind Oxitec and show our support for the only available technique that can help spread its transmission in Cayman.

            • "Help spread its transmission in Cayman"??? says:

              You are wrong when you say “Zika is going to be spread by the local Aedes aegypti population.”

              Zika is going to be spread by BOTH the hundreds of thousands of Oxitec released Aedes aegypti females AND the 10,000 local wild Aedes aegypti females.

              And we already know that there are those who HATE Cayman so much that will agree with your final sentence when you write “Lets all get behind Oxitec and show our support for the only available technique that can help spread its transmission in Cayman.”

              If there was EVER a way to “help spread its transmission in Cayman”, Oxitec is serving it up like they did in Brazil since an unprecedented epidemic wave of outbreaks of Zika occurred AFTER Oxitec started releasing their biting females in Brazil also.


              • Anonymous says:

                You know UCCI offers basic math classes. You should consider it. How do you get hundreds of thousands of female mosquitoes released. Even taking your worst figures 0.07% of 22,000,000 is 15,400 not the hundreds of thousands you claim. This suggests you are either incredibly stupid or that you are purposely misleading the public.

              • Anonymous says:

                Ok I can admit when I make a mistake. The sentence should have read “Lets all get behind Oxitec and show our support for the only available technique that can help PREVENT its transmission in Cayman.”

                It would be great if you could also admit that 0.03% of 22000000 is 6,600 and that your claims of hundreds of thousands of mosquitoes is a massive miscalculation. The result of which makes your whole argument of the Oxitec mosquito helping to spread the Zika virus laughable.

                • Anonymous says:

                  The math isn’t the only thing making their argument laughable! The very people behind it are. Ask them where they are getting all this funding from – as we know they both barely have jobs. That might assist with the real agenda here!

                  • Who benefits if Oxitec fail? says:

                    Are they being paid by big chemical companies? Monsanto or Bayer perhaps?

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Could the real agenda be the deluded political aspirations? What better way of getting your name known than taking on such a major issue as the abuse of Cayman Islands residents by a foreign company. Unfortunately they failed to appreciate the need for control of this mosquito and the benefits of the technique. However instead of retracting the opposition and announcing support for an obviously beneficial technique they have resorted to lies and misinformation. Today alone we have heard ridiculous claims of hundreds of thousands of female mosquitoes being released to spread Zika. They have claimed there are only 10,000 wild Aedes aegypti on Grand Cayman. We have heard claims the mosquitoes are the size of vultures. All lies and all told with a deliberate intention to mislead.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Well, if you are correct that I should have clicked on the percentage sign on the calculator instead of the equal sign when trying to figure out the amount of predator biting females that Oxitec plans on releasing in West Bay, then you are right.

                  And I am still against stacking the odds for 15,400 (or 6,600) EXTRA female mosquitoes or an extra 1,800 or an extra ONE mosquito!

                  • Anonymous says:

                    It is not a case of if you are incorrect; It is a fact. definitely in the future learn to use a calculator before making such statements. Your claims have been totally discredited. Maybe its time to pick another political football to bounce up and down. How about opposition to Gay cruise ships? That might be an election winner.

                    • I am not a scientist, mathematician or a quantum physics candidate says:

                      Well, how was I supposed to know that I didn’t know the right way to calculate?

                      I just entered into the calculator exactly what the Oxitec scientist said on the video and that was the number that showed up on the screen.

                      And just to be sure, I even did it over again.

                      But anyway, thank you for teaching me something new about fractions.

                  • Diogenes says:

                    You understand that the issue is not the total number of mosquitoes after the first release (so say an increase of 15000 biting mossies) but the number of mosquitoes after the current population dies at the end of their two to four week life span, and without being able to reproduce? Its the 90% reduction in the population of wild mosquitoes that is the issue, not the fraction of a percentage point increase in biting females in the GM release. The net number of viable, biting mosquitoes is massively lower after a 2 to 4 week minimal increase in the female population.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      For you, the issue might be what happens after 4 weeks, but my issue still remains at Day 1 when these 15,400 EXTRA biting predators hit West Bay ground and possibly bite me.

                      Even with the slightest increased chance of getting infected (because you only need ONE), the fact of the matter is that releasing these biting predators into human communities ABSOLUTELY makes me, my family, the residents and visitors of West Bay an unwillingly part of the experiment also.

                      So, I GIVE NO CONSENT to the increased possibility of getting infected.

              • Jotnar says:

                Who says the resident population is 10,000?

                • An environmental scientist at Gene Watch UK says:

                  Dr. Helen Wallace, who is an environmental scientist and Executive Director at Gene Watch UK, who did an independent peer review on Oxitec when they performed their experiment in East End back in 2009.


                  • Anonymous says:

                    Dr Wallace is not an environmental scientist. She is a physicist with a hatred of all thinks genetically modified. In her review she totally misunderstood what was written. This is not surprising as she is not a trained biologist, ecologist,geneticist or molecular biologist. She is supposed to be quite good at physics but that doesn’t really help her understand a paper on population dynamics. This is shown in her insanely inaccurate review of the paper where she concludes there are only 10,000 wild Aedes aegypti in Cayman.

                    • No wonder Oxitec won't reveal the estimated AA wild population says:

                      Well, obviously since you seem to know for a fact that there are NOT 10,000 female Aedes aegypti in the wild, perhaps you can enlighten us with an estimation of what a more accurate amount would be.

                      Obviously, after repeatedly being asked, the MRCU and Oxitec refuse to answer that question.

                      We subsequently found out why they might have been refusing to answer to that question, when it was determined what the low amount of Aedes aegypti presence really is in the Cayman Islands.

                      That alone would have negated the need for the overkill of purchasing Oxitec’s 22 million GMM’s to suppress a wild local population of only 10,000.

              • Anonymous says:

                I know you will not respond to this question but I have to ask it anyway. How do you arrive at a figure of only 10,000 local mosquitoes? Is this both male and female or just female? What is the source data for this figure or is it simply a number you pulled out of thin air in order to justify your argument? Now we have established only 6,600 females will be released over the whole 9 months of the project do you still believe they pose a significant increase in risk of Zika being transmitted?

            • Anonymous says:

              People may not like what I have to say but I assure you 0.03% of 22,000,000 is not 660.000. Its 6,600.

              • Looks like I learn something every day says:

                Looks like Alden’s $1,435,354 that he just appropriated last month for the GMM Public Education Programme is working after all!

          • Anonymous says:

            I know math is a hard subject. 0.03% is much different (100x less in fact) than 0.03, or 3%. The video you referenced stated 0.03% which translates into 6,600 females, not 660,000. 6,600 is a drop in the bucket compared to the natural population and also considering they predict the population to decrease up to 90% as a result of the release would be worth it.

            • Anonymous says:

              No, it’s not 0.03%.

              They will be releasing around 15,400, which is 0.07%, according to Dr. Petrie’s numbers that he tabled to get approval for this project.

              And when we only have a wild female population of 10,000, they are releasing nearly 150% MORE (15,400) to eradicate the Aedes aegypti again like Dr. Petrie testified in front of the NCC that they did in 2010.

              Sourced on the 5th paragraph of Page 1 here:

              So, since Zika is now reported and confirmed in the Cayman Islands, it is INCOMPREHENSIBLE to want to INCREASE the chances of transmissions by making it 15,400 MORE LIKELY TO GET BIT BY THESE PREDATOR OXITEC BITING FEMALES.

              Sourced on the top of Page 5 on the Department of Environment’s website:

              • Who benefits if Oxitec fail? says:

                If your claims were not designed to mislead the public this claim would be funny! Have you actually read the publication that is referenced here? If you did you completely failed to understand it. Here is a link to the referenced publication. Please re-read and you will realize that it does not state Cayman has a wild female population of 10,000 (I am actually laughing as I write this!). The link is here

                It is a real shame that the Caymanian public is being put at risk for what you think you know but totally fail to comprehend the information you are reading.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Obviously the person that referenced the genewatch publication doesn’t understand actual scientific publications. They only rely on biased sources of information to tell them what to think. If they were able to read and comprehend the study published in parasites & vectors, they would know that the 10,000 figure they reference is a simulated control figure, i.e., makes reading the results much easier since showing a chart going from 10,000 to 500 is much more intuitive than showing it go from some large uneven number to a smaller uneven number.

                  I’m not able to open the DOE link to see where the .07% comes from, however in this more recent study than 2010 from Brazil the figure is .02% females which is even lower than .03% cited above.

              • Anonymous says:

                As I already pointed out below, your sources are wrong and/or you are reading them wrong. The real female contamination figure seems to be between .02% and .03%. Even per the obviously biased gene watch article you can see what the 10,000 refers to is the control figure for every 2.8 million males released. So for every 2.8 million males you might add 700 females to control a population of 10,000 females. I don’t have time to verify the claim of 2.8 million males per 10,000 females, but even if it were true then that means the # of females released is around 7% of the current population. But the great thing is the existing population of females is suppressed by over 90% so you are still left with over 80 or 85% reduction.

                And by the way if the 2.8 million per 10,000 is correct that means in a very small area in west bay the local female population might be nearly 80,000 females. The reason so many males must be released is so they are guaranteed to out-compete the local males for breeding.

            • Anonymous says:

              Tell their predictions to the 2 people who now have Zika and reported it.

              Then, ask if it is worth it to all those who have it, or who are carriers of the disease but never sought medical attention and who might have it, when 2 months ago, what everyone thought was the common flu was going around in Grand Cayman.

              And then, find out what happens to the 0.07% (the 15,400 biting females) that are released around people’s homes if even 154 of those biting females bite any tourist visiting the Turtle Farm in West Bay, or visitors going to Hell in West Bay, or in general any of the 1,800 people that Oxitec is targeting in the release area.

              It only takes one biting female to transmit from someone who in infected with the Zika virus.

      • Anonymous says:

        Source for 15%?

      • Anonymous says:

        You are such a nut! First don’t release them … now gosh if you release them once it’s already here it’s a problem! There’s a reason why you are uneducated! People go back to school and learn about good ole common LOGIC – it’s an actual science you know!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.