Health Topics

Zika Virus

What is the Zika Virus?

The Zika virus is spread through the bite of certain types of mosquitoes. While it can cause fever, rash, joint pain and red or pink eyes, about 80 percent of people with Zika do not become ill or show no signs of symptoms. Zika also can be spread through blood transfusions and sexual contact.

Should I Worry?

Most of Texas has a long mosquito season and many people travel to places where Zika is active. This means you have a great chance of coming into contact with the Zika virus and potentially spreading it to your loved ones and other Texans.

The Zika virus also can be spread from mother to child, if the mother is infected with the Zika virus during pregnancy. The Zika virus has been linked to birth defects such as microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s head is much smaller than expected and can cause development delays.

If you have any concerns or think you might have Zika, talk to your doctor.

What Can I Do to Prevent Zika?

Healthy Texas Women and the Family Planning Program will add mosquito repellent as a covered benefit for eligible clients as a year-round benefit, starting Feb. 12.

The programs will cover the cost of mosquito repellent for eligible women and girls ages 10-55, pregnant women of any age and males 14 and older.

For Healthy Texas Women clients, many pharmacies can provide you mosquito repellent without a prescription from your doctor. Contact your favorite pharmacy to make sure they are participating in this benefit.

To find your pharmacy's phone number, you can use the Pharmacy Search on the Vendor Drug Program website.

Clients can present their Healthy Texas Women ID card just like they would with any prescription.

For Family Planning Program clients, supplies can be picked up at a participating Family Planning Program clinic.

The mosquito repellent benefit is also offered in the following Texas programs:

  • Medicaid
  • Children's Health Insurance Program
  • CHIP-Perinatal
  • Children with Special Health Care Needs services program
  • Title V Prenatal Medical Fee for Service Program

Please check with each program for eligibility requirements, because they are not the same for all programs.

Currently, there is no vaccine or treatment for the Zika virus. Your best protection to avoid infection is to prevent mosquito breeding and protect yourself from mosquito bites. You also can take these simple steps to protect you and your loved ones from the Zika virus.

When you’re outside:

  • Apply EPA-approved insect repellent.
  • Wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin.

When you’re at home:

  • Use screens or close windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home.
  • Remove standing water in and around your home, including water in cans, toys, tires, plant saucers or any container that can hold water.
  • Cover trash cans or containers that can hold water.

If you’re pregnant:

  • Protect yourself from sexual transmission. Consider abstaining from sex or use condoms correctly.
  • Avoid travel to regions where the Zika virus is active.

Learn More

You can find more information about the Zika virus at:

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