- Associated Press - Thursday, August 4, 2016

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - Louisiana’s Medicaid program will pay for mosquito repellant for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant, to help prevent cases of Zika virus.

The state health department announced the plans Thursday. Babies born to women who are infected with the Zika virus - a mosquito-borne infection - can have severe birth defects.

Doctors who treat Medicaid patients in Louisiana will be able to prescribe mosquito repellant to their patients, so the costs can be covered by the government-financed health program. Some health plans that cover Medicaid patients already have started reimbursing for repellant.

The Louisiana Department of Health says no locally-transmitted cases of Zika virus have been found in the state, but there have been 17 travel-related cases. Locally-transmitted cases of Zika virus have been confirmed in Florida

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