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US Army Med Dep J. 2011 Jul-Sep:87-96.

Health effects associated with geographical area of residence during the 1991 Gulf War: a comparative health study of Iraqi soldiers and civilians.

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  • 1Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health Sciences, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI, USA.



Although Iraqis sustained the gravest exposure conditions during the 1991 Gulf War (GW), little is known about the possible relationship between environmental exposures during the GW and long-term health in Iraqis.


To study the relationship between distance from Kuwait during the GW and somatic health among Iraqi Soldiers vs civilians.


A survey questionnaire was distributed to a sample of 742 GW veterans and 413 civilians in Iraq. The odds ratios were calculated for somatic disorders as a function of distance from Kuwait during the GW, as well as a self-reported environmental exposure index.


Soldiers reported a significantly higher prevalence of somatic disorders as compared to civilians. Soldiers closest to Kuwait reported significantly more somatic disorders as compared to Soldiers deployed further away from Kuwait.


Iraqi GW veterans are at an increased risk of numerous somatic disorders. Soldiers are at an increased risk compared to civilians, suggesting that war-associated exposures are of etiologic relevance.

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