There are currently 16 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in New Jersey, all travel-related, according to the state health department. A travel-related case of Zika means that it was contracted outside of New Jersey and imported here. Zika, which can cause catastrophic harm to a fetus if the mother contracts the virus, can be transmitted sexually and is spread primarily by mosquitoes. Parts of South America and the Caribbean have seen outbreaks of the disease.
Of the cases in New Jersey, seven are in Bergen County, two each in Passaic and Morris counties, and one each in Hudson, Camden, Burlington, Union, and Essex counties.
Although there is debate as to how far north mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus are able to survive, most do not believe the New Jersey climate will be hospitable to the type of mosquitos that spread the disease. There have yet to be reported cases of Zika that have been locally contracted in the United States.
Nevertheless, the state health department is warning that mosquito controls should be stepped up this summer and that those who are travelling to the tropics should obtain prevention information.