Gulf War Illness

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Gulf War Illness (GWI), also known as Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), is a term used for unexplained illnesses occurring in veterans of the 1991 Gulf War in Southwest Asia. According to the Institute of Medicine in 2013, about one-third of Gulf War veterans suffer from chronic multisymptom illness (CMI).[1] Science News summary of June 29, 2016 states: "Veterans of the Gulf War are more than twice as likely to have medically unexplained symptoms known as "multisymptom illness" (MSI), compared to Iraq/Afghanistan War veterans, according to an updated research."[2]

Symptoms[edit | edit source]

Cause of illness[edit | edit source]

The US Department of Veterans Affairs has a list on Gulf War Veterans’ Medically Unexplained Illnesses.

The National Veterans Foundation lists several possibilities as causation which include depleted uranium, sarin gas, smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors.[3] The Environmental Illness Resource also list decontamination solutions, pesticides and more.[4]

Research conclusions[edit | edit source]

The Conclusions and Recommendations of the Gulf War Illness and the Health of Gulf War Veterans: Research Update and Recommendations, 2009-2013 conclude "exposure to pesticides and pyridostigmine bromide are causally associated with Gulf War illness" as well as other hazardous exposures including gas agents sarin/cyclosarin. "Mixed exposures include not only mixtures of chemicals but also chemicals combined with heat, dehydration, infection and other environmental stressors."[5]

Vaccinations[edit | edit source]

Vaccinations have been proposed as an etiological factor in Gulf War Illness, especially the mass vaccinations given prior to military deployment.[6]

Vaccination in the presence of elevated cortisol levels can drive cytokine expression toward TH2 dominance.[7][8]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]


The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.

From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history