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Medicaid to pay for repellent in Virginia to ward off Zika

This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host.
This 2006 photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows a female Aedes aegypti mosquito in the process of acquiring a blood meal from a human host. (Copyright by WSLS - All rights reserved)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Officials say Virginia's Medicaid program has begun covering the cost of mosquito repellent to prevent people from being infected by the Zika virus.

The Washington Post reports that the program began covering repellent on Monday.

The state health department says prescriptions are required for people to obtain the payment. One refill is allowed per month.

Zika causes a mild illness in most people but can lead to severe brain-related birth defects if women are infected during pregnancy. No vaccine exists to provide protection against the mosquito-borne virus.

Zika has been spreading across the Americas since last year, with virus-carrying mosquitoes reported to have reached Florida last month.

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