Sex Differences in Gulf War Illness: A Reanalysis of Data from the CDC Air Force Study Using CDC and Modified Kansas Case Definitions

Vahé Heboyan, Maxine H. Krengel, Kimberly Sullivan, Stacey Iobst, Nancy Klimas, Candy Wilson, Steven S. Coughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective:Estimate and compare the prevalence of Gulf War Illness (GWI) in male and female Gulf War veterans using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and modified Kansas case definitions.Methods:Data from the landmark CDC Air Force Study of GW Air Force veterans is used.Results:Nearly half of the deployed veterans met the GWI CDC case definition compared with 14% of non-deployed veterans. Only 29% met the definition using the modified Kansas criteria compared with 8% of non-deployed veterans. Deployed veterans and female veterans exhibited significantly higher GWI risk. Female GW veterans had higher rates of severe and mild-to-moderate cases of GWI.Conclusion:Results suggest increased GWI rates based on CDC and modified Kansas criteria among deployed and female veterans. Further research is needed to examine the chronic health outcomes of female GW veterans independently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-616
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of occupational and environmental medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019



  • epidemiology
  • gulf war illness
  • gulf war veterans
  • sex differences
  • symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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