Gulf veterans claim for 'Desert War Syndrome'

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The Independent Online
MORE THAN 280 Gulf war veterans have submitted claims to the Ministry of Defence alleging illnesses they believe are attributable to the conflict.

The Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Jeremy Hanley, said the ministry retained 'an open mind' on the matter - but said that those who had undergone a full medical examination had shown no link between their problems and their service in the Gulf.

As many as 7,000 American veterans claim they are suffering from 'Desert War Syndrome'. Symptoms range from hair and memory loss to collapse of the immune system. Although there is no official explanation, the Pentagon admits the condition exists.

The oil-well fires started by Iraqi forces and the vaccines used during the war have been blamed. There are also claims that the illness could be caused by radiation from shells containing uranium, a by-product from the nuclear power and weapons programme.

Mr Hanley said ex-forces personnel would be invited to undergo a medical assessment with a military consultant. Those still serving would be assessed by their unit medical officer.

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