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Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics/Gulf War Illness

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Iraq Coalition Casualty Statistics/Gulf War Illness pertains to casualties suffered during Operation Iraqi Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom II and other undesignated hostilities in Iraq which began in March 2003.

Also see:


Gulf War Syndrome

It remains to be seen whether any "new" "syndromes" will surface.

  • March 1997: "Gulf War Syndrome: 100,000 U.S.casualties" by Joe Courter, afn.org.

Gulf War Syndrome II

  • 9 April 2003: "Gulf War Syndrome II" by Steve Rosenfield, TomPaine.com.
  • 23 November 2003: "Soldiers to sue over new Gulf War syndrome" by Mark Townsend, The Observer.

Vaccinations / Innoculations

Also see possible relationship with Pneumonia below.

  • 10 December 2003: "A shot in the dark" by Eric Boehlert, Salon.com: "The U.S. military requires troops to take controversial anthrax shots and court-martials them if they refuse. But critics say the vaccine is too dangerous -- and with Saddam's bioweapons nowhere to be found, needless."
  • 3 January 2004: "US Army buys millions in anthrax shots," AEDT: "The US Defence Department has announced a $US29.7 million order for anthrax vaccine based on the assumption that a federal judge's ban on mandatory inoculations will be reversed. ... Privately held BioPort Corporation of Lansing, Michigan, was awarded the Army order on Wednesday as part of a $US245.6 million contract, the Pentagon said."

"Baghdad Boil"

"Nearly 150 U.S. soldiers in Iraq have been diagnosed with a parasitic skin disease, and hundreds more could unknowingly be infected," Anita Manning reported December 5, 2003, in USA Today.

"Doctors fear[ed] that soldiers returning from the front might consult doctors in the USA who have never seen the disease. Complicating matters: It has an incubation period of six months, on average, so a person infected in September may not show symptoms until March. Also," Manning wrote, "the best drug to treat it is not licensed in the USA."

The disease -- Leishmaniasis (LEESH-mah-NEY-uh-sis), called the Baghdad Boil by U.S. troops, -- is spread through the bite of infected sand flies, which feed on human blood. Although not a threat in the United States, the disease is much more common in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the 660 reported cases represent the largest epidemic for the military since World War II. "It causes skin lesions that if untreated may take months, even years, to heal and can be disfiguring." [1][2]

Pneumonia

  • 2 August 2003: "Pneumonia draws Army's attention. Medical teams sent to Iraq after soldiers get sick" by S. Thorne Harper, Ledger-Enquirer.
  • 4 August 2003: "Army investigates mystery pneumonia", UPI: "Two Army medical teams have been activated to help investigate a mysterious pneumonia outbreak that has struck about 100 soldiers -- two of them fatally. ... The illness, spreading among service members in the Persian Gulf since March 1, has been centered in Iraq."
  • 18 August 2003: "Doctor: Pentagon slow in vaccine death" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "A civilian doctor who took care of an Illinois soldier before she died in April says the Pentagon should have treated her death as possibly due to vaccine side effects, but may be hesitating because of the impact on the military's controversial smallpox and anthrax vaccine programs. ... The death of Rachael Lacy, 22, of Lynwood, Ill., has taken on added significance because she died without ever being deployed, but had pneumonia. The Army is investigating pneumonia cases in Iraq and Southwest Asia that have sickened more than 100 solders and killed two - but has excluded Lacy's case in its search for a cause because she died before arriving there."
  • 21 August 2003: "Widow fears Pentagon 'lying' on pneumonia" by Mark Benjamin, UPI.
  • 10 September 2003: "War zone pneumonia linked to smoking", UPI: "Nineteen cases of severe pneumonia, including two deaths, among troops in the Iraq war zone have been linked to smoking. ... Two teams of Pentagon and civilian epidemiologists have determined the cases do not appear to be transmitted by person or appear linked to other diseases such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, adenovirus, parasites, vaccinations against smallpox or anthrax, the New York Times reported. ... A combination of stress, heat, dust and other factors may have acted in concert with smoking to cause the illness, DeFraites said." Col. Bob DeFraites is the U.S. Army's chief of preventive medicine.
  • 16 September 2003: "Mystery pneumonia toll may be much higher" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "Mysterious pneumonia-like illnesses and breathing problems appear to be striking U.S. troops in greater numbers than the military has identified in an investigation -- including more deaths, according to soldiers and their families. ... Some of the soldiers were deployed to Iraq and died but are not part of the Pentagon's investigation. Others who got ill told United Press International they suffered a pneumonia-like illness after being given vaccines, particularly the anthrax shot. ... The Pentagon said it is committed to the health of military personnel and that some dead or ill soldiers do not meet criteria for the investigation. Pentagon health officials said a statistical analysis essentially has ruled out vaccines and that the role of smoking has emerged as a leading factor instead."

Illness due to Unknown Etiology

  • 6 October 2003: "Mystery Blood Clots Kill Troops" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "Unexplained blood clots are among the reasons a number of U.S. soldiers in Operation Iraqi Freedom have died from sudden illnesses, an investigation by United Press International has found. ... In addition to NBC News Correspondent David Bloom, who died in April of a blood clot in his lung after collapsing south of Baghdad, the Pentagon has told families that blood clots caused two soldiers to collapse and die. At least eight other soldiers have also collapsed and died from what the military has described as non-combat-related causes. ... A disturbing parallel has also surfaced: soldiers becoming ill or dying from similar ailments in the United States. In some cases, the soldiers, their families and civilian doctors blame vaccines given to them by the military, particularly the anthrax or smallpox shots."
Is there possibly any connection with some of these deaths to a new quickly approved drug called QuikClot that was projected to reach drug store shelves by August 2003? See QuikClot information and connection to Operation Iraqi Freedom.

General Links

  • Operation Iraqi Freedom Post Deployment Preventive Medicine Briefing by CFLCC (Coalition Force Land Component Command). 27-page pdf file.
  • Gulf War Veterans Resource Pages.
  • Guidance for Medical Evacuee: "Under provisions of section 1319, H.R. 1559, signed 16 April 2003 by the President, soldiers that are medically evacuated for treatment to a medical facility, or for travel to a medical facility or the member's home station, by reason of an illness or injury incurred or aggravated by the member while on active duty in support of Operation Noble Eagle, Operation Enduring Freedom or Operation Iraqi Freedom, the Secretary of the military department concerned may procure civilian attire suitable for wear by the member during the travel. The Secretary may not expend more than $250 for the procurement of civilian attire for any member described above."
  • 19 December 2003 The total number of wounded soldiers and medical evacuations from the war in Iraq is nearing 11,000, according to new Pentagon data provided in response to a request from United Press International. The military has made 8,581 medical evacuations from Operation Iraqi Freedom for non-hostile causes in addition to the 2,273 wounded -- a total of 10,854, according to the new data. The Pentagon says that 457 troops have died.

Headlines

  • 3 October 2003: "4,000 U.S. non-combat evacuations in Iraq" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "Nearly 4,000 U.S. troops have been medically evacuated from Operation Iraqi Freedom for non-combat reasons -- with more than one in five of those for psychiatric or neurological problems, according to Pentagon data. ... A total of 3,915 evacuations from the region have been for non-combat medical problems. A combination of what the Pentagon is calling evacuations for 'psychiatric' and 'neurological' problems make up 22 percent of the total, with 478 and 387 evacuations, respectively. ... Another 544 evacuations have been for 'general surgery,' 290 for gynecological reasons and 118 for orthopedic problems. ... Army Surgeon General spokeswoman Virginia Stephanakis, who supplied the data, said on Friday that she had few details, but that the Pentagon had not detected any 'red flags' indicating troubling or unexpected health patterns."
  • 17 October 2003: "Sick, wounded U.S. troops held in squalor" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait -- sometimes for months -- to see doctors. ... The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers' living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 -- Veterans Day."
  • 20 October 2003: "Doctors, dollars rushed to Fort Stewart" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "The Army said Monday it is sending doctors to Fort Stewart, Ga., to help hundreds of sick and injured soldiers, including Iraq veterans, who say they are waiting weeks and months for proper medical help. ... Many of the Army Reserve and National Guard personnel in 'medical hold' at the base are living in steamy cement training barracks that they say are unacceptable for sick and injured soldiers."
  • 29 October 2003: "Sick soldiers wait for treatment" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: At Ft. Knox, KY, "The Army Reserve and National Guard soldiers are in what the Army calls 'medical hold,' like roughly 600 soldiers under similar circumstances waiting for doctors at Fort Stewart, Ga."
  • 6 November 2003: "Senator credits UPI report on poor GI care", UPI: "Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., Thursday credited UPI for triggering big improvements in medical care for hundreds of sick and wounded soldiers, many Iraq veterans. ... Bond, co-chair of the Senate National Guard Caucus, took to the Senate floor to describe steps being taken to confront problems first reported by UPI Oct. 17."
  • 7 November 2003: "Senator: We'll hold Army accountable" by Mark Benjamin, UPI.
  • 14 November 2003: "U.S. casualties from Iraq war top 9,000" by Mark Benjamin, UPI: "In addition to the 397 service members who have died and the 1,967 wounded, 6,861 troops were medically evacuated for non-combat conditions between March 19 and Oct. 30, the Army Surgeon General's office said. ... That brings total casualties among all services to more than 9,200, and represents an increase of nearly 3,000 non-combat medical evacuations reported since the first week of October. The Army offered no immediate explanation for the increase."
  • 17 November 2003: "Amputee soldiers ponder bitter-sweet price of survival", The Age.
  • 11 November 2003: "Listening to Veterans" by Ted Sexauer, AlterNet: "The more the soldiers fear for themselves and their companions, the more harshly they treat the local people - and the more the locals resent their presence. The cycle feeds on itself, as it did in Vietnam. ... We will soon be welcoming home the first of another generation of emotionally damaged veterans. Many will have trouble relating to people who have not seen what they've seen."