Chapter Nine: Conclusions and Recommendations

This report reviews infectious diseases from the standpoint of those infections or potential infections known or thought to be present in the Persian Gulf during the Gulf War. To highlight potential causes of illness in Gulf War veterans, the review documents that some veterans were exposed to infectious diseases. Some of these diseases are common and generally self-limited (e.g., gastroenteritis, mild respiratory infections). These infections were identified and routinely treated in the Gulf. Other infections have been detected in a small group of veterans (e.g., Leishmania); however, findings do not suggest that these infections are a common cause of undiagnosed illness among those who served in the Gulf War. Leishmania is challenging to diagnose and efforts to develop better diagnostic tests should continue to be encouraged.

There remains controversy about the extent to which Mycoplasma might contribute to illness experienced by veterans. Consequently, some specific recommendations exist with respect to further investigation into Mycoplasma as a possible etiology for some cases of illness among Gulf War veterans.


[1] Since this writing, such a study is now under way with many of the characteristics advised here.