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Gulf Illnesses

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

It's being called an "unprecedented" effort to track the health of Americans just back from battle.

The Pentagon has ordered health screenings for every soldier, sailor, Marine and airman who fought in the Iraq war. Within 30 days of their homecoming, every one will fill out a health questionnaire, review it with a health provider and give a blood sample.

Returning troops will be asked if they developed any chronic cough, rashes or diarrhea. They will be asked to list possible exposures to pesticides, oil fires, or biological and chemical weapons. The questionnaire also asks whether they have had problems with depression or stress.

The military is hoping to avoid a repeat of the aftermath of the 1991 Persian Gulf War, when thousands of veterans reported unexplained illnesses.

The health screenings could have an impact on hundreds of Army and Air National Guard members in Alabama who were deployed to the Middle East.


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