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Gulf War 1 health issues

Gulf War 1 has been labelled ‘the most toxic war in history’; the consequences of the multiple vaccinations and anti nerve gas agents that service personnel received prior to deployment and the wide variety of potentially adverse exposures during mobilisation may still be poorly understood, but Gulf War Syndrome (GWS), the physical result of this exposure, is now acknowledged.

However, the many years during which the existence of Gulf War Syndrome was denied or seen as a psychological disorder and not a physical illness has had a significant toll on the well being of those living with the condition and has impacted upon the investigation into, investment in and availability of appropriate treatments and services.

Although Gulf War 1 was brief, its impact was no less traumatic than other wars for a variety of reasons, some of which are listed below. One other point is that a significant number of TA and reservist personnel were deployed to this conflict compared to the later conflicts.

In addition, some personnel who were given the vaccinations but not actually deployed to the Gulf are now suffering similar health issues to those who were deployed.

Particular Gulf War 1 Issues:

  1. Multiple vaccinations
  2. Personnel were not given any choice about the vaccinations they received
  3. NAPS tablets (to protect against nerve agents)
  4. Organophosphates
  5. Burning oil wells
  6. Depleted Uranium (DU)
  7. Gulf War Syndrome (GWS)
  8. Poor public support for the conflict and regarding GWS
  9. Physical Trauma
    • Heat exhaustion
    • Injury
    • Inadequate supplies, protective clothing and equipment
  10. Psychological Trauma
    • Friendly fire or ‘blue on blue’ attack - intent to do harm to the enemy which causes injury to one's own side, mistakenly attacks own side.
    • Vaccine induced Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
    • Inadequate supplies, protective clothing and equipment
    • Fighting ill equipped Iraqi conscripts (aged anywhere between 13 and 70)
    • Loss of comrades
    • Not being able to complete the "job" - seeing and feeling responsible for the casualties of Gulf War 2 (Iraq)
  11. Marriage/family breakdown
  12. Substance misuse - drugs and alcohol
  13. Suicide/attempted suicide

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Medical and legal disclaimer
The information and advice published or made available through the NGVFA web site is not an exhaustive list as reports and research are developing and changing every day. Please be aware that this information is not intended to replace the services and advice of a doctor. Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a medical or health condition. You should consult a doctor in all matters relating to your health, and particularly in respect to any symptoms that may require diagnosis or medical attention. The NGVFA is not liable for any direct or indirect claim, loss or damage resulting from use of this web site and/or any web site(s) linked to/from it.

This page last updated : January 2013

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