Volume 60, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Occult occupational infection with Mycoplasma fermentans has been proposed as a cause for illness among Persian Gulf War veterans. Symptom data and sera from a 1994-1995 cross-sectional survey of Navy Seabees were used to select symptomatic and asymptomatic Gulf War veterans and nondeployed veterans to evaluate this hypothesis. Survey sera from 96 Seabees were matched to prewar (before September 1990) archived sera. Immunoblot serologic analyses were performed for M. fermentans in a controlled, blinded fashion. Both Gulf War veterans and nondeployed veterans had prewar and postwar serologic evidence of M. fermentans infection consistent with natural infection data. Among study subjects collectively, and stratified by Gulf War service, none of the immunoblot banding profiles (prewar or postwar) or their changes over time were associated with postwar symptoms. These serologic data do not support the hypothesis that Gulf War veterans have experienced Gulf War-related morbidity from M. fermentans infection.


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