The Impact of Infectious
Diseases on the Health of U.S. Troops Deployed to the Persian Gulf During
Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm
Landrigan, P.J. Illness
in Gulf War Veterans. Causes and Consequences. (editorial) JAMA 1997;
277: 259-260. The author summarizes the main findings of the articles
on Iowa veterans and the RNMCB-24 (Haley et al.) which appeared in the
same issue. He also summarizes some of the other recently published studies
related to mortality, hospitalization, and the frequency of symptoms among
GW veterans. The author mentions the late-breaking announcement by the
government of sarin release during destruction of Iraqi bunkers, and the
controversy over the possibility of chronic effects of low dose exposures
to nerve agents. He emphasizes the need for physicians to provide counseling,
support, and symptomatic treatment for GW veterans.
Etzel, R. A. and Ashley,
D.L. Volatile Organic Compounds in the Blood of Persons in Kuwait During
the Oil Fires. International Archives of Occupational and Environmental
Health 1994; 66: 125-129. This study analyzed blood samples collected
in 1991 from Americans working in Kuwait City (20 km from burning oil
wells) (Group I), personnel working at the burning wells (Group II), and
participants in a U.S. health survey (US Group). Compared to the US Group,
median volatile organic compound concentrations were higher in Group II
and lower in Group I. Concentrations of benzene and toluene were significantly
higher among smokers.
Poirier, M.C. et
al. Biomonitoring of United States Army Soldiers Serving in Kuwait in
1991. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention 1998; 7: 545-551.
Blood and urine samples were collected from soldiers before, during, and
after their deployment from Germany to Kuwait from June 1991 to September
1991. Blood and urine concentrations of biomarkers for exposure to polycyclic
aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) were significantly lower for the period of
the deployment in Kuwait than for the periods in Germany. Similarly, levels
of PAHs in ambient air samples in Kuwait were also lower than expectations.
McDiarmid, M.A. et al.
Increased Frequencies of Sister Chromatid Exchange in Soldiers Deployed
to Kuwait. Mutagenesis 1995; 10(3): 263-265. Among a sample of soldiers
from the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, spontaneous sister chromatid exchanges
(SCEs) in blood lymphocytes were found to have increased during and after
deployment to Kuwait in 1991. SCE has been employed in the past as an
indicator of genotoxic exposure to environmental agents. Because there
are many possible causes for increases in SCE and the long term health
implications of SCE frequencies have not been established, the meaning
and importance of the results are unknown.