2003 CPEO Military List Archive

From: CPEO Moderator <cpeo@cpeo.org>
Date: 14 Apr 2003 14:32:15 -0000
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] Military ready for outbreak of Gulf War Syndrome II
Military ready for outbreak of Gulf War Syndrome II
Cause and cure are still unknown, but officials say they are better

WASHINGTON - Will United States troops return home from Iraq with the
mysterious illness that still makes war hell for thousands of veterans
of the 1991 Persian Gulf conflict?

Experts cannot predict whether a new outbreak of Gulf War Syndrome will
occur in the war’s aftermath. But the military medical system has braced
for it, with new procedures to help researchers nail down the causes and
a new treatment regimen for the elusive illness.

"We have learned many lessons over the last decade," Dr. William
Winkenwerder, assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, said at
a Pentagon briefing.

"We wanted to have a better baseline of information when people are
deployed that tells us about their health, better surveillance in the
field, and collection of information in a more disciplined way to look
at people after they return."

Some veterans groups believe that the lessons learned will be enough to
prevent a wave of Gulf War Syndrome II rivaling the first.

"I would be surprised if it happened," said Stephen Robinson, executive
director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. "The first gulf war
was unique in some ways. It was a toxic soup with bad gas masks and
defective or unused protective equipment.

"This war is different so far, without widespread exposures to toxic
materials, and [the U.S. Department of Defense] has learned its lessons
and taken more precautions to protect troops against exposures."

Almost $250 million has been spent on Gulf War Syndrome research over
the last 12 years, according to a report last month in Science, the
journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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