Zika Virus Update #5

Seal of Virginia. Commonwealth of Virginia. Department of Health. Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP. State Health Commissioner. PO BOX 2448 Richmond VA, 23218, TTY 9-1-1 or 1-800-828-1120.

September 19, 2016

Dear Colleague:

Thank you for all your efforts to learn about and prevent the impact of Zika in the Commonwealth. In our August 2016 Dear Colleague Letter, we provided an overview of recent Zika-related clinical guidance revisions.  Since that communication, some new patient benefits, guidance revisions and research findings have been released.  They are summarized below for your review and consideration.

Medicaid and Insect Repellent  On August 22, 2016, the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Health, announced that DMAS will now cover insect repellent for Medicaid members under the pharmacy benefit with a prescription.

Update: Interim Guidance for the Evaluation and Management of Infants with Possible Congenital Zika Virus Infection-US, August 2016. (MMWR. 19 August 2016. Vol. 65)

  • Recommends that initial Zika testing samples should be collected directly from the infant in the first two days of life; testing of newborn cord blood is no longer recommended.

Likely Sexual Transmission of Zika Virus from a Man with No Symptoms of Infection — Maryland, 2016 (MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2016; Vol. 65)

  • Providers should request Zika virus testing for any patients with illness compatible with Zika virus disease who have had sexual exposure without barrier devices to a partner who traveled to an area with active Zika virus transmission, regardless of whether the returning traveler reports symptoms.

Hearing Loss in Infants with Microcephaly and Evidence of Congenital Zika Virus Infection — Brazil, November 2015–May 2016  (MMWR. 30 August 2016. Vol. 65)

  • Among 70 children with microcephaly and lab evidence of congenital Zika infection, the prevalence of sensorineural hearing loss was 5.8%. Children with evidence of Zika virus infection and normal initial screening tests should receive regular follow-up, as hearing loss can be delayed.

Thank you for providing your patients with information about the actions they can take to prevent Zika Virus Infection.   Please visit the VDH Zika Virus website for both clinical information and tools that you may use to provide guidance to your patientsYou may also visit the CDC website for additional resources and support for families and for healthcare providers caring for newborns affected by Zika.


Marissa J. Levine, MD, MPH, FAAFP
State Health Commissioner