The authors compared military hospitalizations of active
duty Gulf War veterans (GWV) (551,841) to non-deployed veterans (NDV)
(1,478,704) who remained on active duty as of July 31, 1991. For systemic
lupus erythematosis (SLE), women and blacks had increased risks of hospitalization.
GWV were not at increased risk compared to NDV. For amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS), deployment status was not associated with risk of hospitalization.
For fibromyalgia (FM), increased risk was associated with female gender,
increasing age, pre-war hospitalization, and Army personnel. The risks
for GWV and NDV were the same for 3.5 years, following which the GWV had
almost twice the risk of hospitalization for FM. This excess risk is believed
to be associated with participation in the Comprehensive Clinical Evaluation
Program for GWV. For CCEP participants, the risk of hospitalization for
FM was 26 times that of non-participants. For all three diagnoses, there
were no differences in risk based on either duration of deployment in
the Gulf, or potential exposure to low-level dose nerve agent from the
release at Khamisiyah. Limitations and strengths of the study are described.