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VA Issues Final Rule on 'Presumptive' Illnesses

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, September 30, 2010

A final regulation from the Veterans Administration makes receiving healthcare and disability compensation for diseases it easier for veterans who served in the Gulf War, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The rule adds nine infectious disease "presumptives" associated with military service.

"This is part of historic changes in how VA considers Gulf War Veterans' illnesses," says Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. 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—published Wednesday in the Federal Register—establishes 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.

The regulation reflects an 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.

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