Chronic Multisymptom Illness: A Comparison of Iraq and Afghanistan Deployers with Veterans of the 1991 Gulf War
NAVAL HEALTH RESEARCH CENTER SAN DIEGO CA
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Symptoms and illness reported from the Gulf War era are a cause of potential concern for those military members who have deployed to the Gulf region in support of contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This study quantified self-reported symptoms from Millennium Cohort participants, enrolled in a prospective study representing all US service branches, active duty and ReserveGuard components, from 2001-2008. Self-reported symptoms were uniquely compared to a cohort from the 1991 Gulf War to gain context for the current report. Symptoms were then aggregated to identify cases of chronic multisymptom illness CMI based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention case definition. The prevalence of self-reported CMI symptoms was compared to those from a study population of US Seabees from the 1991 Gulf War collected in 1997-1999, as well as deployed and non-deployed subgroups. Although overall symptom reporting was much less than in the 1991 Gulf War cohort, increased CMI reporting was noted among deployed compared to non-deployed contemporary Cohort members. An increased understanding of coping skills and resilience, and well-designed screening instruments, along with appropriate clinical and psychological follow-up for returning veterans, may help to focus resources on early identification of potential longterm chronic disease manifestations.
- Medicine and Medical Research