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Mil Med. 1997 Jan;162(1):1-13.

Al Eskan disease: Persian Gulf syndrome.

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  • 1Office of the State Surgeon, Pennsylvania National Guard, Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 17003-5003, USA.

Abstract

This article examines the potential relationship between Al Eskan disease and the Persian Gulf syndrome. Al Eskan disease, reported in Military Medicine in 1992, is a novel and previously unreported condition triggered by the exceptionally fine sand dust of the Central and Eastern Saudi Arabian peninsula. We repeat our study of the pathogenesis of Al Eskan disease to include the ultrastructural and microanalytical study of the sand, aerobiological studies of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the etiology, symptoms, and prevalence of the disease. We conclude that immunodepression resulting from the continued presence of sand particles less than 1 micron in diameter in the lungs and bodies of Persian Gulf veterans explains not only the symptoms of the hyperegic lung condition of phase I and the symptoms of phase II of Al Eskan disease, but also provides an important clue to a common factor in most cases of Persian Gulf illnesses. We include a discussion of most of the commonly suspected agents in the Persian Gulf syndrome. In this case, we conclude that each of these factors, such as oil well fires, old-world diseases, or depleted uranium, are probably adjuvant or contributing causes. The only common exposure that would lead to recognition of the Persian Gulf syndrome as a single medical condition, rather than a catch-all phrase for unrelated conditions, appears to be exposure to the ubiquitous, fine sand of the area, and a resulting immunosuppression that is aggravated by opportunistic infections and other nonmicrobial ailments.

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PMID:
9002695
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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