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Illness haunts 8,000 fighters.

Byline: By LOUISE MALE

UP to 8,000 British veterans claim to suffer from Gulf War Syndrome.

Ex-soldiers who served in the 1991 conflict report mood swings, memory loss, lack of concentration, night sweats, fatigue and sexual problems.

Support groups including the British legion claim about 8,000 veterans have suffered unexplained poor health since the war, while in the US the figure is up to 60,000.

Vaccines against anthrax and the plague, nerve agents from Iraqi chemical weapons storage facilities, pesticides and exposure to pollution from burning oil wells have all been seen as possible causes of ill-health.

In 1997, the British Legion called for a public inquiry into the illnesses.

The Ministry of Defence has long denied the existence of a so-called Gulf War Syndrome, arguing there was no single cause of the illnesses reported by veterans.

But in a test case last year, former trooper Daniel Martin, 35, of the Life Guards, forced the MoD to accept Gulf War Syndrome as an umbrella term for a number of post-conflict ailments.

Mr Martin, who suffers from asthma, anxiety and memory loss following service in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq, fought his case for five years.

His appeal tribunal held in London was critical of the MoD refusing to accept the "validity" of the term Gulf War Syndrome - or GWS - for 14 years.

As a result of the judgement, Mr Martin can claim a pension on the grounds of GWS - and it gave hope to 2,000 more ex-soldiers seeking pensions on the same basis.

But last month the MoD said it would not accept the existence of GWS.

It said money was already being paid to ex-servicemen with disabilities and that it did not need to pay extra cash for those who claimed they had Gulf War Syndrome.

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SICK: Gulf soldiers
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jul 10, 2006
Words:306
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