New DoD Web Site Features Deployment Health Issue Studies
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 31, 2006 A new Defense Department Web site that debuts April 3 will feature government-funded scientific studies of medical issues experienced by military members during deployments, a contractor involved with the project said here today.
The DeployMed ResearchLINK site will initially contain 1991 Gulf War-related medical research that's been compiled by government researchers, Dr. Francis L. O'Donnell, a physician and DoD medical consultant, said. Around June, additional medical information gathered from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom will be added.
The site contains "information that you really can't find anywhere else about what's going on within not only DoD, but also the (Veterans Administration) and Health and Human Services that is research about the health aspects of military deployments," O'Donnell said.
The new site is a merger of DeployMed and Medsearch, two sites sponsored by DoD Force Health Protection and Readiness.
The new Web site eventually will offer a cornucopia of medical research drawn from military deployments, O'Donnell said, such as Gulf War Illness, mental health issues and servicemembers' exposure to leishmaniasis, a curable parasitic infection caused by sand fly bites.
Leishmaniasis is brought on by one-celled creatures that can enter the human blood stream, but is usually evidenced by skin sores, said O'Donnell, an infectious disease specialist. The disease can be successfully treated with antibiotics, and if left untreated the infection eventually will heal on its own accord, O'Donnell said.
U.S. servicemembers during the Gulf War experienced about 32 cases of leishmaniasis, he said, and more than 1,000 U.S. military members who've served in Afghanistan, Iraq and other Middle Eastern theaters of operation have contracted leishmaniasis over the past few years.
"In the Gulf War, we were mostly in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and just a short period of time in southern Iraq," O'Donnell said in explaining the increase in leishmaniasis cases among U.S. servicemembers. "This time around we're all over Iraq, and the disease is really much more common in Iraq than it is in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait," O'Donnell said.