Veterinarians attached to High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift visited a snake and spider anti-venom clinic in Chorrillos, Peru as part of HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12), Jan. 25.
The seven-person HSV-SPS 12 medical and veterinary team visited the National Center of Biology anti-venom clinic with an officer of the Naval Peruvian Hospital and the Naval Medical Research Unit (NAMRU) 6.
The group discussed species of venomous snakes and spiders, the differences between venoms, and the potential signs and symptoms of patients in the hospital recorded to have been victimized by the species living in Peru.
“It’s important to educate U.S. service members of all types about these creatures,” said Lt. Cmdr. Luis Loayza, a doctor and liaison of the Naval Peruvian Hospital and NAMRU-6. “I’ve learned from working with the U.S. Navy that service members travel a lot, and you never know when these sorts of exchanges between countries about anti-venom will come in handy.”
The tour of the facility began with a slide show describing the different types of venomous snakes and spiders within Peru, and continued with a subject matter expert exchange (SMEE) between the medical team and the researcher.
“Snakes and spiders are more afraid of you than you are of them,” said Monica Chacon Paz, research specialist and tour guide. “From an ecological point of view the world needs these creatures, and we need them to continue valuable research.”
The anti-venom facility houses three different types of live, venomous snakes in Peru and a small variety of venomous spiders. The center hopes to keep researching the species and make tours of the center available to increase education and awareness worldwide.
“This was an important visit,” said Tech Sgt. Andrew Clarke, a medical technician attached to the veterinary and medical team on Swift. “It’s important to see how other research facilities are run in countries that have different species that we are not accustomed to seeing.”
The team of veterinarians is scheduled to perform more SMEEs and participate in more animal research within different facilities as a part of HSV-SPS 12.
Service members from each of the armed services are working with host nation partners, conducting exchanges of techniques and information in Navy Criminal Investigative Services, medical, small-unit leadership and engineering practices.
Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with partner nation service members and civilians in the region.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.
Naval Today Staff , January 30, 2012; Image: navy