Two people in Finland have tested positive for the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus since last summer, the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said on Wednesday.

Both people had come from South America, where the disease is spreading rapidly, and the first one was diagnosed last summer, senior THL researcher Jussi Sane said, about the same time that the outbreak was first reported in Brazil.

The second case was diagnosed more recently, Sane said, declining to give any further details.

The Zika virus is linked to severe birth defects in thousands of babies in Brazil and is spreading rapidly in the Americas. There are also cases in European countries.

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