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Last Updated: Friday, 14 July 2006, 12:26 GMT 13:26 UK
Gulf War vets death rate 'lower'
Soldiers
The figures compare veterans and personnel not deployed
The death rates of Gulf War veterans are lower than servicemen not deployed in the conflict, figures suggest.

Statistics from the Ministry of Defence show that, out of 53,409 Gulf War veterans, there were 784 deaths.

In a comparison group of 53,143 personnel with similar gender, status and rank not deployed in the conflict, there were 818 deaths.

The figures form part of the ongoing monitoring of veterans involved in the 1991 conflict.

This data clearly shows that UK veterans of the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict do not suffer a higher overall mortality rate compared with service personnel who did not deploy
Tom Watson
Veterans minister

The latest figures compare with about 1,265 deaths to be expected in a similar-sized group of similar age and profile from the general UK population.

In a written statement to the Commons, veterans minister Tom Watson said the results showed service personnel had good levels of fitness.

"While any death is a matter for regret, this data clearly shows that UK veterans of the 1990/1991 Gulf conflict do not suffer a higher overall mortality rate compared with service personnel who did not deploy."

National Gulf Veterans and Families Association (NGVFA) general manager Maria Rusling said the figures could deter people from the joining the armed forces.

"I'd be very concerned if more people are dying from a non-war situation," she said.

"That for me would strike a huge question mark."

Back in March, researchers suggested there was no single cause for Gulf War illness.

The journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society published 16 papers outlining research into possible causes, such as exposure to chemicals.

Researchers said effects on servicemen's health had been seen but that there was no direct scientific link between serving in the 1991 Gulf War and a syndrome.

But the NGVFA said a series of medical disasters had caused illness.


SEE ALSO
'No one cause' for Gulf illness
24 Mar 06 |  Health
Gulf War veteran wins test appeal
01 Nov 05 |  Beds/Bucks/Herts
Analysis: Gulf War ruling
01 Nov 05 |  Health

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