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Zika Virus

Following a natural disaster, the population of disease-bearing mosquitoes can increase sharply. This article can tell you how to avoid it. This article was written by Texas RioGrande Legal Aid.

Free mosquito repellant to qualified persons through Dec. 31, 2017

What is Zika?

Zika is a virus that can cause severe birth defects in unborn children. It is spread to people through mosquito bites, or through sex with a person infected with the Zika virus. You should be especially concerned about Zika if you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant.

  • Children born after exposure to Zika may have developmental delays and lifetime intellectual and physical disabilities.
  • A woman infected with Zika can spread it to her unborn child.
  • A man infected with Zika can spread it to a woman through sexual contact.
  • Most people infected with Zika do not have symptoms.
  • There are no drugs to treat Zika and no vaccines to prevent it.

How can I avoid Zika?

The best way to stay protected from Zika is to avoid mosquito bites. Texas has a long mosquito season, which increases your chances for exposure. Mosquito repellant can help


Mosquito repellent will be provided at no cost to Medicaid participants. If you are eligible under Medicaid, you don’t need to visit your doctor. You can go straight to your pharmacist to pick up mosquito repellent.

  • Free to females ages 10-55, pregnant women of any age, and men and boys 14 years of age or older who participate in Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), CHIP-Perinate, Healthy Texas Women, Children with Special Health Care Needs Services (CSHCN), and Family Planning Programs.
  • This benefit ends on December 31st, 2017. 
  • One can/bottle of mosquito repellent per prescription fill, with one refill allowed per calendar month. • Prescriptions for mosquito repellent will not count against the monthly 3 prescription limit for those clients with a monthly limit.
  • CHIP members may pay the generic copay or less, if the cost of the repellent is less than the copay.

Contact your pharmacy to make sure they are participating in this benefit. You can use the Provider Lookup feature at www.txvendordrug.com

More ways to prevent Zika:

  • Clothing and screens: In addition to using repellant, wear pants and long-sleeve shirts that cover exposed skin. Use screens on your windows and doors to keep mosquitoes out of your home. Don’t leave doors open.
  • Protect yourself from sexual transmission. Pregnant women and their male sex partners should discuss the male’s potential exposures with the woman's health care provider. Men who have travelled to or from an area with active Zika virus transmission should use condoms during sex with a partner who is pregnant or who might get pregnant.
  • Get rid of standing water! The mosquito that causes Zika is a “container-breeding mosquito” because it likes to lay eggs in and around standing water. They can breed in cans, toys, pet water bowls, plant saucers, old tires, buckets, trash containers – anything that can hold even a little water. Even after you empty the water, the eggs stick like glue and survive without water for up to 8 months. When water covers the eggs, they hatch and become adults in about a week.

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