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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: August 5, 2016


DOVER (August 5, 2016) - The state has published an amended regulation to ensure coverage of over-the-counter mosquito repellents for Medicaid recipients as a measure to protect against the Zika virus. The Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance issued the regulation Aug. 1. It is effective for services provided on and after July 1, 2016.

Over-the-counter insect repellents are generally not covered by Medicaid. But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently allowed states to cover mosquito repellents for Medicaid recipients when prescribed by an authorized health professional.

Zika is spread primarily through mosquito bite, though it also can be sexually transmitted or passed from mother to fetus during pregnancy. Since there is no vaccine available for Zika, the major means of prevention currently available are mosquito control and protection against mosquito bites.

Mosquito repellents applied to the skin can aid in preventing infection of the Zika virus. The Centers for Disease Control recommends people use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered insect repellents.

"Our message to Medicaid beneficiaries and their providers is that the Delaware Medicaid program recognizes the serious public health threat the Zika virus presents," said Stephen Groff, Director of the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance. "We are pleased that we can now provide coverage for certain mosquito repellent products when prescribed by health practitioners."

Added Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay, "Every bit of prevention matters when it comes to fighting disease. Whether someone is traveling abroad or at home, Public Health always recommends using mosquito repellent and welcomes this new rule."

The change comes as the continental U.S. has seen its first cases of local Zika transmission from mosquito bites in Florida. Delaware has 11 confirmed Zika cases, all adults and related to mosquito bites abroad. The latest case, confirmed this week, involves a New Castle County male who contracted the illness while traveling abroad this summer. Pregnancy is not an issue for any of the Delaware cases.

For further information for pregnant women and their male partners:

Zika FAQs and mosquito control tips:

To reduce the risk of mosquito bites, use Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered insect repellents; stay in places with air conditioning or that use window or door screens to keep mosquitoes outside; sleep under a mosquito bed net if you are outside and not able to protect yourself from mosquitoes; treat clothing and gear with permethrin available in pharmacies or purchase permethrin-treated items; and wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.

To learn more about how to reduce mosquitoes around your home, two videos with information about Zika virus and backyard water sanitation tips also are available on DNREC's YouTube Channel: Zika Virus, Mosquitoes & You, Mosquito Control & Your Backyard.

To report intolerable numbers of biting mosquitoes and request local relief, residents are encouraged to call Mosquito Control's field offices:

General Zika information:

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person's spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.