Medical evaluation of Persian Gulf veterans with fatigue and/or chemical sensitivity

J Med. 1998;29(3-4):101-13.


The purpose of this study was to determine if Gulf War veterans with complaints of severe fatigue and/or chemical sensitivity (n = 72) fulfill case definitions for chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and/or multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and to compare the characteristics of those veterans who received a diagnosis of CFS (n = 24) to a group of non-veterans diagnosed with CFS (n = 95). Thirty-three veterans received a diagnosis of CFS with 14 having MCS concurrently; an additional six had MCS but did not fulfill a case definition for CFS. The group of fatigued veterans receiving a diagnosis of CFS was comprised of significantly fewer women and fewer Caucasians than the civilian group, and significantly fewer veterans reported a sudden onset to their illness. Veterans with CFS had a milder form of the illness than their civilian counterparts based on medical examiner assessment of the severity of the symptoms, reported days of reduced activity, and ability to work. Since CFS in veterans seems less severe than that seen in civilians, the prognosis for recovery of veterans with this disorder may be better.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / diagnosis
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / diagnosis
  • Multiple Chemical Sensitivity / physiopathology*
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Persian Gulf Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis
  • Virus Diseases / physiopathology