In 1980, onchocerciasis was reported by the ophthalmologist, probably an
American, from the hospital on the Khamis Mushayt airbase where Stealth
bombers were stationed during the 1991 Gulf War.
(scroll down to letter #7 at the following link)
Most residents of regions endemic for filarial infections have been
exposed, at least to some small extent.
Michael A Forgione, is Chief of Infectious Diseases at the hospital on
the Keesler Air Force Base at Biloxi, Mississippi.
He co-authored a paper describing onchocerciasis as an infection
affecting “multiple organ systems” which is much the same as describing it as a “multisymptom illness”.
“Background: Onchocerciasis is a chronic parasitic disease caused by the filarial nematode Onchocerca volvulus. Infection affects multiple organ systems . . . . . . . .”
Coauthor(s): Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH, Professor and Head of
Dermatology, Professor of Medicine, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of
Pathology, Professor of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School; Rajendra Kapila, MD, MBBS, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, UMDNJ, New Jersey Medical School; Michael A Forgione, Jr, MD, Chief of Infectious Diseases, Instructor, Department of Medicine, Keesler Medical Center
The Air Force Logistics Management Agency (AFMLA) is a USAF management think tank based at Maxwell AFB in Alabama. They report directly to the head of Air Force logistics in the Pentagon.
According to AFMLA, military health risk assessors identified
onchocerciasis as an endemic health risk prior to the deployment of troops to Arabia in 1990. This prediction led, in part, to the acknowledged
overuse of pesticides during the conflict.
(scroll down to the bottom of page 19 of the pdf to find)
“Personnel were also exposed to the effects of the desert environment.
Health hazards associated with the desert environment vary. Hazards which particularly worried military health officials were onchocerciasis (“river blindness”), bilharzias (schistosomiasis), malaria and strangely enough, rabies. River blindness was common in this theater and is caused when an individual is bitten by the black fly—an insect smaller than a common housefly that injects its larva into the bloodstream . . . . . . . .”
It therefore follows that the US military predicted that onchocerciasis, presenting as multisymptom illness, would become symptomatic in large numbers of deployed personnel at any time following the required 18+ months incubation period. This is exactly what happened.
Consequently, it is surprising that CDC commissioned Fukuda and
co-workers to investigate a “mystery illness” that some claimed was
afflicting Gulf War veterans, although it was already known that the likely
cause was onchocerciasis. Nevertheless, Fukuda and co-workers failed to
investigate a single veteran for onchocerciasis, that they described as a
“multisymptom illness” in the US Air Force veterans they investigated.
Fukuda K, Nisenbaum R, Stewart G, Thompson WW, Robin L, Washko RM, et al. Chronic multisymptom illness affecting Air Force veterans of the Gulf War. Journal of the American Medical Association 1998;280:981–8.
That the involvement of onchocerciasis in GWS has been ignored, or even
concealed, is not in question. The question is why? I submit that it is
reasonable for Americans to demand that both the USAF and CDC account for themselves.
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