Important information about medical and legal issues of particular concern to U.S. Military veterans:
Agent Orange –
Agent Orange was a herbicide used in Vietnam to kill unwanted plants and to remove leaves from trees that otherwise provided cover for the enemy. The name, “Agent Orange,” came from the orange stripe on the 55-gallon drums in which it was stored. Other herbicides, including Agent White and Agent Blue, were also used in Vietnam to a much lesser extent.
Anthrax Vaccine –
The Department of Defense (DoD) Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program seeks to protect U.S. Military personnel from the biological warfare agent anthrax. The DoD continues to state that the vaccine is safe, however, a number of troops have reported adverse reactions to the vaccine.
Gulf War Syndrome –
Gulf War syndrome is the name given to a variety of psychological and physical symptoms suffered by veterans of the Gulf War. The symptoms have been remarkably wide-ranging, sometimes somewhat ill-defined, and distinguished by the number of theories advanced as to their origin.
Lariam (anti-malaria drug) –
Lariam (manufactured by Roche Pharmaceuticals) or Mefloquine is an orally administered anti-malarial drug used as a prophylaxis against and treatment for malaria. Lariam is prescribed to some U.S. military personnel operating in areas that may contain malaria. It goes by the chemical name mefloquine hydrochloride (formulated with HCl). Mefloquine was developed in the 1970s at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in the U.S. as a chemical synthetic similar to quinine. Lariam has been linked to serious psychiatric side effects, including suicide.
Mesothelioma (Asbestos) –
Mesothelioma is a rare form of cancer primarily caused by asbestos exposure. There is a higher incidence of mesothelioma among U.S. Navy personnel, shipyard workers, etc. due to asbestos exposure on Navy ships. In addition, family members and others closely associated to those exposed to asbestos may also be at risk (for example the wife who washed her husband’s work clothes). The cancer typically has a latency period of 20 to 50 years.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) –
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a term for the psychological consequences of exposure to or confrontation with stressful experiences, which involve actual or threatened death, serious physical injury or a threat to physical integrity and which the person found highly traumatic. Symptoms can include reexperiencing phenomena such as nightmares and flashbacks, avoidance of reminders and emotional detachment, and hyperarousal with sleep abnormalities, extreme distress resulting from personal “triggers”, irritability and excessive startle. There is also the possibility of simultaneous suffering of other psychiatric disorders. Experiences likely to induce the condition include rape, combat exposure, natural catastrophes, violent attacks, and childhood physical/emotional abuse. PTSD often becomes a chronic condition but can improve with treatment or even spontaneously.