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Anderson dentist headed to Haiti despite Zika outbreak

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) – A Zika virus outbreak will not keep an Anderson dentist from traveling to Haiti on a medical mission trip.

Dr. Craig Arive plans to leave on March 1, and he hopes to provide dental care to 300 people over three days in a poverty-stricken village that was devastated by the 2010 earthquake.

Because of the Zika virus outbreak, he said he will pack as much mosquito repellent as he can and wear long sleeved shirts. He learned Tuesday that an Indiana woman contracted the virus after traveling to Haiti last month.

“You have to consider the risks and the benefits, and I think the benefits far outweigh those risks,” Arive said. “These people have dental disease, but they don’t have access to a dentist.”

In Haiti, Arive said he won’t have much of the modern dental equipment that he uses in Anderson. He will have a set of tools used for pulling teeth, which he’ll use at a makeshift clinic.

“It will be a challenge,” he said. “You want to give these people the care they deserve, but with the conditions the way they are, we’ll do our best.”

He’ll be joined by an oral surgeon, a pediatric dentist and a team of nurses. He expects much of his work to consist of pulling teeth and filling cavities, but he said he doesn’t know exactly what to expect. It will be his first mission trip outside the United States.

“If I can change one life, then I feel like I will have succeeded,” Arive said.