Report: Gulf War Syndrome Linked to Vaccine
Sun January 11, 2004 10:03 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - A leaked British Army medical report has provided the first official backing that vaccines given to British soldiers before the 1991 Gulf War caused illnesses associated with Gulf War Syndrome, the Times reported on Monday.
It said Lieutenant-Colonel Graham Howe, clinical director of psychiatry with the British Forces Health Service in Germany, made the link after the War Pensions Agency asked him to look at the case of former Lance-Corporal Alex Izett, who now suffers from osteoporosis and acute depression, the paper said.
The Times quoted Howe as saying in his unpublished report, dated September 2001 and handed to the paper by Izett, that "secret" injections given to the soldier "most probably led to the development of autoimmune-induced osteoporosis."
Howe came to that conclusion because in the end Izett was never posted to Iraq, the Times said.
The paper added that Izett won a landmark ruling at a war pensions appeals tribunal last summer which awarded him a 50 percent disability pension.
The existence of Gulf War Syndrome and its possible causes have been hotly debated.
It has been linked variously to the inoculations the veterans received, pesticides they handled, smoke from oil-burning fires, stress and organophosphates -- chemicals that have been shown to affect the human nervous system.
U.S. and British veterans of the conflict have complained of symptoms such as respiratory and digestive problems, nerve damage, fatigue, pain, numbness and memory and psychological problems.