VA Publishes Final Regulation on “Presumptive” Illnessesfor Gulf War
and Iraq, Afghanistan Veterans
WASHINGTON – Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric
K. Shinseki today announced the publication of a final regulation in the Federal Register that makes it easier for
Veterans to obtain Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health care and disability compensation for certain diseases associated
with service in Southwest Asia (including Iraq) or Afghanistan.
“This is part of historic changes in how VA considers Gulf War Veterans’ illnesses,” said
Secretary Shinseki. “By setting up scientifically based presumptions of service
connection, we give these deserving Veterans a simple way to obtain the medical and compensation benefits they earned in service
to our country.”
The final regulation establishes new presumptions of service connection for nine specific infectious diseases associated
with military service in Southwest Asia beginning on or after the start of the first Gulf War on Aug. 2, 1990, through the
conflict in Iraq and on or after Sept. 19, 2001, in Afghanistan.
regulation reflects a determination of a positive association between service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and nine diseases
and includes information about the long-term health effects potentially associated with these diseases:
Brucellosis, Campylobacter jejuni, Coxiella Burnetii (Q fever), Malaria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, Nontyphoid Salmonella,
Shigella, Visceral leishmaniasis and West Nile virus.
With the final rule, a Veteran will only have to show service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and that
he or she had one of the nine diseases within a certain time after service and has a current disability as a result of that
disease, subject to certain time limits for seven of the diseases. Most of these diseases would be diagnosed within
one year of return from service, through some conditions may manifest at a later time.
For non-presumptive conditions, a Veteran is required
to provide medical evidence to establish an actual connection between military service in Southwest Asia or Afghanistan and
a specific disease.
The decision to add these presumptives was made
after reviewing the 2006 report of the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NASIOM), titled, “Gulf War
and Health Volume 5: Infectious Diseases.”