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Vaccines and Gulf War Syndrome

Why do some folks think that vaccines cause Gulf War Syndrome?

The anthrax vaccine did not cause Gulf War Syndrome.
The anthrax vaccine did not cause Gulf War Syndrome.

The usual suspects.

Vaccines and Gulf War Syndrome

What is Gulf War Syndrome?

“A prominent condition affecting Gulf War Veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems.”

Gulf War Veterans’ Medically Unexplained Illnesses

Remember the Gulf War?

It was the six month war in 1990-91, including Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm, in which coalition forces expelled Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Although research continues to determine how service in the Gulf War could be linked to Gulf War Syndrome, there are no shortage of folks trying to blame vaccines.

According to anti-vax theories, it was either:

  • the fact that soldiers had to get several vaccines to protect them from many threats during the war, including anthrax, botulism, and plague
  • the squalene, an adjuvant, in the anthrax vaccine
  • contaminated anthrax vaccines

What do real experts think caused Gulf War syndrome?

“Across all studies and populations and since the earliest findings appeared linking self-reported exposures to diagnosis of GWI, two types of theater-related exposures have been consistently identified as risk factors for the disorder: exposures to pesticides and PB use.”

White et al on Recent Research on Gulf War Illness and Other Health Problems in Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War: Effects of Toxicant Exposures During Deployment

The leading theory is that it was caused by pesticides sprayed everywhere and pyridostigmine bromide, which was given to pretreat soldiers in case they were hit with nerve agents.

There is little evidence to support any link between vaccines and Gulf War Syndrome.

More on Gulf War Syndrome

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