Gulf war veterans claim victory with births study

Deformities among the children of Gulf war veterans are to be studied as part of a full-scale review by the Ministry of Defence to establish whether there are links between illnesses and service in the Gulf. The study marked a partial victory for 500 veterans of the Gulf war who are taking legal action against the MoD to secure compensation for their illnesses.

A team of specialists, including experts in tropical diseases, toxicology and child defects, will try to establish whether there is a higher incidence of illnesses among the Gulf war veterans and deformities in their children than others who did not go to the Gulf.

So far, around 350 veterans have been screened, but most of the work will be done through statistical checks. Children with abnormalities are already being dealt with by specialists in their local hospitals, but their cases will be collated.

Professor Sir Colin Berry, one of the world's leading specialists in birth defects at the Royal London Hospital, said 350 to 375 babies would be expected to be born with abnormalities out of the 15,000 births likely from the 51,000 troops who served in the Gulf.

The study of abnormalities would try to establish whether the incidence of abnormalities was higher than expected, and whether there were any scientifically proven links to any of the chemical agents used in the Gulf.

Surgeon General Vice-Admiral Tony Revell said: "We are continuing this work not only for the veterans who are ill but also to reassure ourselves that if we have to go to war again our people will continue to be properly and safely protected." He said there was no evidence of a "syndrome" involving a single type of symptoms, which could be clearly identified, but the MoD accepted that some veterans were ill. "I would prefer to call it Persian Gulf Illness as the Americans do," he said.

The studies would concentrate on chronic fatigue syndrome and another group of cases, described by the Royal College of Physicians, as the medically unexplained symptom group, which had revealed no obvious cause for their illnesses.

The MoD has refused to accept the claims by veterans that they were made ill by the cocktail of drugs they took to protect them from chemical weapons in the Gulf War. Of the 37 nations who took part, only about three, the US, Britain and Canada, have reported cases of Gulf War Syndrome. All three issued nerve agent pre-treatment sets (Naps), which could be to blame. Troops combined them with normally harmless vaccines.

The study will examine whether there was an interaction between the vaccinations and the Naps, said Nicholas Soames, the Armed Forces Minister. The MoD was criticised for its "hopelessly inadequate" response to the problem by the Commons select committee on defence last year.

John Reid, a Labour spokesman on defence, said: "This grudging concession has had to be wrung out of Government ministers."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Louis Theroux: By Reason of Insanity takes him behind the bars again
tvBy Reason of Insanity, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Cassetteboy's latest video is called Emperor's New Clothes rap
videoThe political parody genius duo strike again with new video
Sport
Seth Rollins cashes in his Money in the Bank contract to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
WWERollins win the WWE World Heavyweight title in one of the greatest WrestleMania's ever seen
Arts and Entertainment
tvPoldark, TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Call Handler

£14500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a Sales Ca...

Recruitment Genius: Support Worker

£14560 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company offers unique pers...

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor