Doyle signs legislation designating Jan. 17 Gulf War illness day
Wed, Aug. 17, 2005
MADISON, Wis. - Gov. Jim Doyle designated Jan. 17 Gulf War Illness
Recognition Day under legislation he signed Wednesday meant to highlight the
mystery ailments that plagued many veterans who served in the 1991 conflict.
State officials believe Wisconsin is the first state to make such a formal
Thousands of Gulf War veterans have experienced undiagnosed illnesses with
symptoms such as chronic fatigue, loss of muscle control, diarrhea,
migraines, dizziness, memory problems and loss of balance.
The federal government initially denied the mystery illnesses were linked to
the war but have since initiated studies trying to pinpoint the cause.
Officials first believed the problems were caused by stress but now are
focusing on toxic substances veterans encountered during the war.
Various studies have shown Gulf War veterans have higher rates of testicular
cancer than soldiers who where not deployed and were twice as likely to have
Lou Gehrig's disease.
The Gulf War began on Jan. 17, 1991. Doyle said during a bill signing
ceremony that even though the war lasted six weeks, many soldiers are still
dealing with health problems associated with their service more than a
decade ago. He hoped the designation would ensure annual recognition for
their sacrifice and increase awareness of the struggle to find appropriate
About 10,400 Wisconsin soldiers served in the first Gulf War, and 11 died,
according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The bill is SB 193.
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