Three Mercer County residents have contracted the Zika virus


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By Philip Sean Curran, Staff Writer
Three people in Mercer County contracted the Zika virus making them part of the 80 overall travel-related cases in the state, the Christie administration has said.
The state Department of Health said Friday that for privacy reasons, it would not disclose what towns the people live in. Nor would the state reveal if any of them are pregnant women, a vulnerable population given the apparent link to Zika and birth defects in unborn children.
Dawn Thomas, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health, said Friday there have been no local transmissions in New Jersey of a viral disease that is impacting parts of Central and South America, Cape Verde in Africa, the Oceania/Pacific islands and Florida.
Dr. George DiFerdinando, the chairman of the Princeton Board of Health, said Friday that he would expect the number of cases in New Jersey to go up, given that the disease is affecting places that state residents like to frequent, like Florida.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Protection has advised pregnant women to avoid a section of Miami where Zika is being spread through mosquitoes.
Zika is spread either through someone getting bit by an infected mosquito or by having unprotected sex with an infected man, according to health officials.
Dr. DiFerdinando said the vast majority of people infected with Zika do not even know they have it. Initial symptoms include fever, rash and joint pain, but there are concerns for pregnant women infected with Zika and passing it onto their unborn children.
As for the rest of the state, Bergen and Passaic counties have 15 cases each, the most for any of the 14 counties with reported cases as of Thursday. Middlesex County has seven reported cases, while Somerset has none.

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