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No Local Military Medical Staff Have Symptoms of Gulf War Illness

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FAYETTEVILLE — The Pentagon and Centers for DiseaseControl are playing down a report that Gulf War health problems might becontagious. A few doctors and researchers claim they've developed symptomslike those of the Gulf War veterans they've been treating.

Locally, however, military medical workers have reported no such symptoms.But, for veterans and their families, this claim only serves to furthermystify the condition.

Melanie Ayers is following the debate closely. Her husband, Glen,served in the Gulf War and in 1993 they lost a baby to a defective heart.

She says any new news about the syndrome makes her perk up her ears.

After that, Ayers led a support group for families of Gulf War vets whosechildren have birth defects. She says she has heard of cases where familymembers came down with symptoms similar to those suffered by the vets.

Ayers says she doesn't think military families should panic over this newinformation. The medical workers and researchers are exposed to far morethan the average person would be, working with bodily fluids and tissuesamples.

Research into Gulf War Syndrome continues. Secretary of DefenseWilliam Cohen says 80 research reports and studies are now in development,and that there is no evidence to support these recent claims.

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