UK armed forces personnel who took part in the 1991 Gulf War experienced an increase in symptoms of ill health, commonly known as Gulf War syndrome. There has been speculation about an Iraq War syndrome.
Simon Wessely and colleagues from King's College London, UK, compared the health of male regular UK armed forces personnel who were deployed to the 2003 Iraq War with those not deployed, and compared these findings with those from their previous survey after the 1991 Gulf War. Over 8 000 individuals completed a health questionnaire. The researchers found only slight rises in common symptoms in the 2003 Iraq War group but nothing equivalent to that observed after the Gulf war. They also found that fatigue was not increased after the 2003 Iraq War but was greatly increased after the 1991 Gulf War.
Dr Wessely concludes: "Increases in common symptoms in the 2003 Iraq War group were slight, and no pattern suggestive of a new syndrome was present."
See also accompanying Comment on these papers.
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