South Florida gynecologist reaches out to pregnant, non-pregnant patients who have Zika concerns

Dr. Lanalee Araba Sam says 2 patients have left state because of Zika fears

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – With the Zika virus spreading in Florida, many women are worried, even those who are not pregnant.

Some South Florida gynecologists said they have been getting so many questions that they are now reaching out to their patients to give them information before they even ask for it.

"They're scared," Dr. Lanalee Araba Sam said. "We've been inundated with phone calls from our own pregnant people and other people who wonder is it safe to be pregnant."

Sam, who is the medical director at Fort Lauderdale's Elite OB/GYN, said that now that Zika is being contracted locally, her patients want answers and options.

"I've had two patients literally leave the state over fears of the Zika virus," she said.

In addition to in-person consultations, Sam's office is among those in South Florida sending out emails and phone calls, and taking preemptive action to educate patients.

Sam urges her patients to be educated, not fearful, and tells her patients to wear long sleeves and repellent, stay indoors and stay away from standing water.

The Zika virus can cause severe brain damage to a fetus' brain development. Before testing for the virus, Sam urges her patients to have difficult conversations with their partners about what they may learn.

"Patients need to think about, 'What would I do with those results?' Getting blood testing done that's relevant in first trimester, (and) ask yourself, 'Would I terminate this pregnancy if I find out that I've been exposed to Zika?'" she said.

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