© 2024 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Easier Access To Zika Protection For Texas Women On Medicaid

Wendy Rigby
Texas Public Radio
The unborn babies of pregnant women are at the greatest risk from a Zika infection passed onby the mother

A change in policy should make it easier for low-income Texas women to protect themselves against mosquitoes and the threat of the Zika virus.

It is imperative to make insect repellent as easily and widely available as possible ~ Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner Charles Smith


Normally they are just pests. This summer, mosquitoes seem more sinister with the looming threat of the Zika virus that could creep into Texas soon.


Credit Wendy Rigby / Texas Public Radio
Texas Public Radio
Obstetricians can monitor an unborn baby for any signs the fetus has been exposed to the Zika virus which can cause severe birth defects


Texas Health and Human Services had announced recently that women on Medicaid could see their physician and get a prescription for two free cans of mosquito repellent monthly at their pharmacy. Today, the process has been streamlined. Now pregnant women of any age and all women between 10 and 45 on Medicaid can go directly to the pharmacy to pick up the spray. No doctor’s visit is required.

"This is another step in our comprehensive plan to protect Texas women and their unborn children from the Zika virus," said Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Charles Smith. "For this benefit to be truly effective, it is imperative to make insect repellent as easily and widely available as possible."

Texas is the first state to enact this kind of standing order to combat the threat of Zika for women, since the disease can cause devastating birth defects.

Wendy Rigby is a San Antonio native who has worked as a journalist for more than 25 years. She spent two decades at KENS-TV covering health and medical news. Now, she brings her considerable background, experience and passion to Texas Public Radio.