With the World Health Organization (WHO) recently declaring the Zika virus an international health emergency, Harvard Pilgrim has developed a medical policy outlining our coverage of services related to this virus.
Harvard Pilgrim offers coverage of medically necessary services for members infected with the Zika virus, including office visits, inpatient and outpatient hospital services, increased prenatal testing and screenings, and prescription drugs.
The Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and symptoms include fever, skin rashes, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, and headache. More concerningly, public health agencies are investigating a potential link between the Zika virus and microcephaly, a condition that causes babies to be born with smaller than expected heads and in many cases damaged brains. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued travel notices particularly for women who are or may be pregnant, or are trying to become pregnant, and considering travel to regions where there is an outbreak of the Zika virus.
According to the CDC as of February 4th, in the continental United States, some travelers returning from regions with outbreaks of the virus have contracted Zika, but no locally transmitted Zika cases have been reported. However, there have been cases of locally transmitted Zika virus in Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and American Samoa.
No specific treatment or vaccine is currently available for Zika virus. The best prevention is protection against mosquito bites, the WHO reports. In addition, no commercial diagnostic tests are available for the Zika virus. Diagnostic testing for the Zika virus is performed at the CDC Arbovirus Diagnostic Laboratory and some state health departments; clinicians should contact their state health department to facilitate testing.
The WHO and CDC offer online, up-to-date information on the Zika outbreak:
In addition, the Harvard Pilgrim medical policy on Zika includes links to relevant state health departments.