VA Announces Third Survey of Gulf War Era Veterans

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WASHINGTON—The VA announced that for the third time since the 1990-1991 Gulf War, its researchers will contact Gulf War-era veterans as part of its longterm study on their health.

“Our message to our Gulf War veterans is clear. We are not forgetting you, we are listening to you, and we are acting,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki in a written statement. “This Gulf War follow-up study provides an important long-term look at how Gulf War veterans are faring, and will provide essential data to guide the care of these veterans.”

According to the VA, the researchers are interested in learning how the health of these veterans has changed over time, and about long-term conditions they may be experiencing like unexplained multi-symptom illnesses.

“Veterans will be asked about health issues that affect them, including chronic medical conditions such as cancer, neurological, respiratory and immunological conditions, as well as general health perceptions, functional status, chronic fatigue syndrome-like illness, unexplained multi-symptom illness and women’s health. Veterans will be queried about their level of physical activity and their use of alcohol and tobacco. They also will be asked about their use of VA health care and satisfaction with their care,” according to the VA.

The VA’s study group includes approximately 15,000 Gulf War veterans and 15,000 veterans who served elsewhere during that time.  The study group includes veterans from all branches of service. Additional information about the study can be found at http://www.publichealth.va.gov/epidemiology/studies/gulf-war-follow-up.asp.

Researchers were set to begin contacting participants at the end of May 2012. The last health survey took place in 2005.

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