GULF WAR SYNDROME: British Team Studies Link to Vaccines
A connection may exist between the baffling Gulf War syndrome that plagued tens of thousands of veterans and the practice of giving troops multiple vaccinations before deployment, the Los Angeles Times reports. Appearing in the current issue of the British Medical Journal, researchers at London's King's College found that the vaccines, although not harmful themselves, "may be associated with adverse health outcomes" when combined with the stress of combat. Examining the medical histories of 928 British troops who received some of nine vaccinations administered during the Gulf War, researchers discovered that those receiving a combination of vaccines "had a higher likelihood of health problems." The study recommended that "soldiers stay current on their vaccines at all times so they do not need to receive them in a heavy concentration before a deployment." However, U.S. Defense Department spokesperson Jim Turner, who was unaware of the study, said that he "sees no reason to suspect the practice [of multiple vaccination] is unsafe." While the researchers acknowledged the need for more studies, they conceded that their findings could be used by opponents of the Pentagon's controversial anthrax vaccination program (Richter, 5/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.