Gulf War Veterans: Mortality

House of Lords written question – answered at on 19 July 2001.

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Photo of Lord Blease Lord Blease Labour

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What are the latest figures for deaths of Gulf veterans, and amongst the control group.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Defence, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Defence) (Procurement)

Peer reviewed scientific data comparing the mortality of UK Gulf veterans with an era group of service personnel who did not deploy to the Gulf were published for the first time in the Lancet on 1 July 2000. Updates to these figures were provided by the Ministry of Defence to the House on 20 July 2000 and 22 January 2001. The MoD had undertaken to continue to monitor the mortality of both Gulf veterans and the era group and will publish updated figures on a regular basis. The figures as at 30 June 2001 are shown in the table.

Overall, in the period 1 April 1991 to 30 June 2001 the mortality of UK Gulf veterans was no different than that of the control group. The number of Gulf veterans dying from disease related causes is rather fewer than for the control group, whereas the number of Gulf veterans dying of external causes is rather higher than for the control group. The MoD will conduct a more detailed analysis of accidental deaths, to establish where there are any underlying trends that might help to explain this.

Deaths of UK Gulf veterans (Note: 1) 1 April 1999-30 June 2001 Causes (coded to ICD-9) (Note: 2)
ICD Chapter Cause of death Gulf Era Mortality Rate Ratio
All deaths 496 494 1.00
All cause coded deaths 485 473 1.02
I-XVI Disease-related causes 179 216 0.83
I Infectious and parasitic diseases 3 2 1.49
II Cancers 71 77 0.92
III Endocrine and immune disorders 1 4 0.25
V Mental disorders 9 11 0.81
VI Diseases of the nervous system and sense organs 7 6 1.16
VII Diseases of the circulatory system 66 86 0.76
VIII Diseases of the respiratory system 10 5 1.99
IX Diseases of the digestive system 9 14 0.64
IV, X-XVI All other disease- related causes 3 11 0.27
EXVII External causes of injury and poisoning 306 257 1.18
Railway accidents 4 1 3.98
Motor vehicle accidents 110 88 1.24
Water transport accidents 4 1 3.98
Air and space accidents 25 17 1.46
Other vehicle accidents 0 1 0.00
Accidental poisoning 10 13 0.77
Accidental falls 8 6 1.33
Accidents due to fire/flames 0 1 0.00
Accidents due to natural environmental factors 2 2 1.00
Accidents due to submersion/ suffocation/foreign bodies 16 6 2.65
Other accidents 31 27 1.14
Late effects of accident/injury 0 2 0.00
Suicide and injury undetermined whether accidental 88 84 1.04
Homicide 5 4 1.24
Injury resulting from the operations of war 3 4 0.75
Other deaths for which coded cause data are not yet available 9 18
Overseas deaths for which cause data are not available 2 3


1. Service and ex-Service personnel only.

3. World Health Organisation's International Classification of Diseases 9th revision 1977.

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